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Behind the collaboration: Gioia Pan and Clarks link up for Taipei Fashion Week

By Rachel Douglass


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Fashion |Interview

Designer Li-Yang Pan at the finale of her Gioia Pan AW24 show at Taipei Fashion Week. Credits: Taipei Fashion Week.

A designer collaborating with a footwear brand is not an unlikely scenario at fashion week. This was also the case for established designer Li-Yang Pan, who for the presentation of her brand Gioia Pan’s AW24 collection at Taipei Fashion Week onboarded British shoe brand Clarks as a primary collaborator.

As such, Pan’s show was rife in the iconography of Clarks; the brand’s ads were displayed on the screen at the end of the runway up until the show started, front row guests were gifted bags filled with shoe-related goods and attending celebrities and influencers also appeared to be wearing pairs of Clarks to show support.

On the runway, meanwhile, Clarks shoes were paired with Gioia Pan’s functional sports collection, notably the first time Pan has ventured into the sports fashion category and a choice made due to Clarks’ “pursuit of the best wearing experience deeply rooted in its DNA” and the brand’s “centuries-old craftsmanship” that resonated with Pan’s own design values. The Gioia Pan brand is also known for such practices, having established itself as a leader in innovative knitwear since Pan founded the brand in 2001.

Partnership comes as Pan ventures into sports fashion

Gioia Pan AW24. Credits: Taipei Fashion Week.

The collaborative process was a one that saw both Pan’s and Clarks’ teams work closely together on outlining brand positioning and design concepts, before the two looked at integrating the footwear with the sportswear line, ensuring what Pan said was “a perfect blend of style and functionality for both brands”. This then extended into a series of marketing plans alongside the fashion show, including social media activations to help maximise market impact.

When asked what the appeal was in working with Clarks, Pan told FashionUnited: “This collaboration was a strategic decision from a business perspective. It aligns with our brand values and image. Clarks, as a heritage British brand with almost 200 years history, shares the same value with us – pursuing high quality and comfort, which resonates well with our brand’s focus – high-end functionality product and style. This resonance will enhance the market appeal of our products.”

For Pan, the partnership goes hand-in-hand with Gioia Pan’s goal of internationalisation, with the perspective of reaching a wider consumer base particularly in the UK and European markets. With this in mind, she hopes the collaboration with Clarks is not just a one-time event, and will instead develop into a long-term partnership that could potentially see the development of new product lines and technologies.

Gioia Pan AW24. Credits: Taipei Fashion Week.

Gioia Pan eyes UK and European markets for expansion

While keeping tight-lipped on distinct plans, the designer noted: “Considering the good rapport and market feedback shown by both parties in this collaboration, we are planning to expand this into more different product types and shoe designs in the future.”

Clarks wasn’t the only company to be spotlighted via a collaboration on Gioia Pan’s runway. The designer also worked with Acer Technology to implement sci-fi-esque virtual scenery into the backdrop, while functional fabric manufacturer Elite Industries was appointed to aid in Pan’s first steps into the sports fashion market. The firm provided cutting-edge fabric that brought features like environmental protection and functionality to the pieces on display, many taking the form of deconstructed designs that went beyond the sports category to become multi-wear garments.

This came as an extension to looks on the runway that are signatures of Gioia Pan’s well-known aesthetic, each presented under the ‘Like the Wind…’ series, which referenced a yarn’s ability to “change like the wind”. The collection paid tribute to traditional knitting techniques while also experimenting with modern design trends, resulting in contemporary and fashionable “outdoor casual wear” that showcased and expressed the designer’s “exquisite mastery”.

Looking ahead, Pan only hopes to continue investing in this area of design research and development and technological innovation. Elaborating on this, Pan concluded: “On one hand, to strengthen our influence in existing markets and brands, on the other hand, to further expand our global footprint. We will also continue putting efforts in environmental protection and sustainability by enhancing consumer awareness of our brand image.”

Gioia Pan AW24. Credits: Taipei Fashion Week.
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