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Entrepeneur & Lifestyle Blogger / Taipei
創業家＆生活時尚博主 / 台北
Ann Liao is a fashion blogger and a young entrepreneur with a very clear statement about global sustainability, ethical fashion and social responsability in every project or company she is involved.
She has been recently an invited lecturer and panel judge at Ivanovos Textile Capital Festival in Russia and a main participating brand and lecturer at this year Taiwan’s first Fashion Revolution Event.
With a long trajectory living in different countries since a very early age and the experience of working in multiple projects Ann Liao is now in Taipei for a good reason, changing the ethics of the fashion industry in Taiwan. We chat with her to know everything about her background, her projects and what will be the next move for the design field in Taipei.
Ann 是一位時尚部落客也是相當年輕的企業 家，對所參與或執行的每個項目秉持著全球環 保、永續發展的理念以及道德時尚和社會責任 感非常明確的態度。 最近被俄羅斯伊萬諾沃州紡織節作為講師和小 組評委邀請， 也是今年台灣首屆的時尚大革命 活動主要參與品牌及講師。
小時候在幾個不同的國家生活過， 長大後涉及 不同領域和項目，因而擁有許多工作經驗，目 前人在台北，她的出現在我們看來是改變台灣 時尚界道德倫理很好的存在，我們與她聊了許 多，包括成長背景、個人所執行的項目和在台 北設計領域這塊下一步的行動是什麼等等。
R. Hello, Ann! Pleased to meet you. You are a very talented young entrepreneur and fashion blogger, but we at River would love to know how your journey began and a little about your background. Could you introduce us to Ann Liao?
A. Thank you so much for having me, I would describe myself as passionately curious by nature. I was born here in Taipei, Taiwan but left the country when I was only a few months old. My family moved to South Africa, and for ten years of my life I grew up in Johannesburg; after that, it was the United States, Holland, Taiwan, Australia and South Korea. I furthered my studies in Melbourne Australia and Mainz Germany studying communication design.
I found myself deeply inspired by human stories and connections. I became curious about design and how it interacts with us on a daily basis. So I took on projects related to street fashion, art direction, photography, graphic design, creative direction and teaching; working on projects which allowed me to learn about various types of businesses and what inspired people to start them.
Around four years ago I ventured into social entrepreneurship; because of the way I was raised, I felt privileged and given opportunities I knew I could use to give back to society. People have such amazing talents and skills, but without the right team supporting them they are unable to truly flourish. So I set out to learn, learn from various industry experts, people whom genuinely cared about the environment, education, global citizenship and connect them to others who were like-minded so together new projects can form.
TOTES & TEES is a social Enterprise founded here in Taipei, Taiwan. What initially began as a project dedicated to nurturing creative & critical thinking to empower children has evolved into a social Enterprise dedicated to empowering children and adults. Through Design Thinking, Graphic Design, Global Citizenship, Ethical Fashion and environmental protection; we hope to nurture empathy through our brand and share meaningful conversations.
My online website Hey Liao! is dedicated to sharing tips on social entrepreneurship, Eco Urban Tourism and Plant-based Foods. I hope to show my readers and friends that each of us have the power to make our society kinder and our everyday choices + shifts can create a huge difference. As a collective society, which we are, we can achieve great outcomes which instead of hurting others can help others.
R. 哈囉，安!您真是非常 有才華、潛力的時尚部落 客和企業家呢!我們想了 解您的成長背景是怎麼樣 的呢?
A. 嗨! 我在台北出生，但 我除了台灣也在南非、美 國、荷蘭、澳洲、韓國和 德國成長學習。 在我學習傳播學學位期 間，我開始對設計感到好 奇，想知道它與社會的 連接和互動是如何的，於 是開始從事有關項目。四 年前，進入社會並冒險創 業，創辦了TOTES & TEES 和我的部落格HEYLIAO. COM，主題圍繞著設計、 全球公民、道德時尚、環 保 、社會企業家精神、 生態城市旅遊和植物性食 物。
R. You have been living in different countries and travelling to many places before residing and establishing yourself here in Taipei, Taiwan, could you tell us more what brought you here?
A. After studying in Melbourne Australia, my mother opened a cafe in Taipei city and her biomedical company which needed design and branding. I've never actually lived and worked in Taiwan so I thought it was a great opportunity for me to learn Mandarin and support my family in a way that I could.
R. 是什麼原因讓您回到台 北呢?
A. 我媽媽在這邊開了一家 咖啡廳和生物醫藥公司， 而我從來沒有好好在台 灣生活過也沒有在這工作 過，所以我覺得這是一個 很好的機會，讓我學習中 文以及開始我新的項目。
R. We know from all of your projects you align your mind with your values (social responsibility, integrity, transparency, ethics - human rights, animals rights and environmental protection.) to the best of your abilities. Could you explain to us how you combine your ethics with your projects and has there been a time you had to compensate a value to get a project finished?
A. Life as we know it, is not black and white, there are many grey areas in life, and that's certainly true in business. There were certainly moments where I did have to "compensate" certain things but never to my core values. TOTES & TEES is about always working hard and doing the best for our environment and children (you and I) I don't believe we can be perfect but we can do better, that's good enough for me. Always open to learning and doing better!
I had people who told me to first teach my courses but not use ethical fabrics and manufacturing, but I refused. It took me a long time to form the company and begin because I believe details are important and integrity matters. I believe it is always worth it to be true to a core value like - kindness. People will respect you and support you, it's priceless and it pays off. I think if we are given a choice to do better and kinder we ought to do so. It's a human responsibility to preserve our environment since we all live here.
However, I work in a creative industry and we need design software and other "tools", and not all of those components are fairly produced. That makes me sad but I know that as a collective we need to make changes where we can and we must focus on always doing what we can and not on what we can't, it's more productive that way.
R. 請問您是否可以跟我們 說明，您是如何將道德與 項目結合起來，以及曾經 因為什麼緣故而需要犧牲 一點道德理念來完成項目 呢?
A. 有些時候我不得不做一 些犧牲，但這不是我的核 心價值，做真實的自己才 是值得的!
人們會因此尊重你，這是 值得的，如果我們可以選 擇做得好還要更好，那麼 我們應該這樣做。
R. How do you wish to inspire more people to support ethical fashion and why is it important?
A. I hope through my personal projects and my company other people can see that purchasing ethically made goods isn't as hard to do, trying is always an option. Fashion is the second largest polluter in the world and a mega-urban industry, it spans + effects almost all continents and countries. It affects the air we breathe, the water we drink, human and animal lives. Every day this motivates me to keep working hard because there is still lots to be done.
R. 你希望如何激發更多人 來支持道德時尚，為什麼 這很重要呢?
A. 我希望透過我的網站和 公司讓其他人可以看到， 購買道德時尚的產品並 不是那麼的昂貴和困難。 時尚是世界上第二大污染 源，影響著我們呼吸的空 氣、飲用的水，甚至是人 類和動物的生命，這讓我 保持著動力並且知道還有 很多事情要做。
R. After having lived in many parts of the world, would you say there is still a lot to be done here in Taiwan? In regards to sustainability and green businesses?
A. Yes, I believe so, as a global network we are becoming a lot more aware of how important our environment is. In Taiwan, the idea of living Lohas has been around for a long while, but it is still a niche audience. I think the key now is to show how living green and starting green businesses is something worth investing in for long-term growth and sustainable income; like any business, it is hard work, but the long-term benefits outweigh the cons.
I think we need to become aware of greenwashing and what that is. I see many "festivals" advocating for a "green lifestyle" only to find that the product is handmade, but the sources + manufacturing of the fabrics are unknown. The raw materials are one of the most critical components to a genuinely green business.
R. How would you compare Taiwan to other parts of the world from a design perspective?
A. Taiwan has a lot to offer regarding talents; however, we need more alliances, more teamwork and better organizations within the design and creative fields to succeed globally. The skill of storytelling, understanding a companies own core values need to be strengthened. Taiwan is amazing for its OEM and manufacturing companies, but as we are entering a new era, a companies core values and how it competes + collaborates as a leader in its field will prove to be the formula for survival.
R. 您會怎麼比較台灣和世 界其他地方呢?
A. 台灣有很多人才招聘， 我們需要更多同盟、更多 團隊合作和更好的組織在 創意領域取得全球性成 功。
我們正在進入一個新 的時代，公司的核心價值 很重要，這將會是生存之 道。
R. What are you currently working on, any new ideas for future projects?
There are a few projects underway, they are all related to making ethical fashion more accessible to the public as well as building a strong ethical fashion supply chain and infrastructure in Taiwan. I hope more creatives will benefit from them and can start on a better foundation when they venture into businesses within the fashion industry.
TOTES & TEES will be collaborating with more international platforms and brands in the upcoming year. Please stay tuned for us!
R. 您最近有在執行任何新 的想法或未來項目嗎?
A. 我在台灣有一些項目是 道德時尚與公共設施的融 合，我希望更多創意可以 從中受益，並開始進軍時 尚界時有更好的基礎，- TOTES & TEES在未來一 年將與國際平台與品牌合 作，請大家多多關注!
Check more about Ann Liao at www.heyliao.com & www.totes-n-tees.com
查看更多關於Ann Liao的訊息 www.heyliao.com & www.totes-n-tees.com
Special thanks to Chayu Chien and Eting Xie-Make up artist for the Ann Liao’s Photoshoot.
特別感謝攝影師Chayu Chien和化妝師Eting Xie。
All the pictures and words in this article belongs to River and Ann Liao and have copyright.
If you would like to use it please contact us first, we like to share.
October 11 2017
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