A number of clothing brands came to exist in Taiwan with the rise of Taiwanese youth activism, as brands which were popular among activists and expressed political messages endorsed by Taiwanese civil society. The major activist clothing brand may be “Radicalization Studio” (激進工作室) founded by Fish Lin (林家鴻) and other members of the activist hip hop band Kou Chou Ching (拷秋勤)/Community Service (勞動服務). Among their most famous products were the black t-shirts printed with “Fuck The Government” worn by many activists, including Lin Fei-Fan (林飛帆) and Chen Wei-Ting (陳為廷), originally as a way to protest forced land evictions in Dapu, Miaoli, as well as towels reading “Civil Disobedience.” Other wares included t-shirts reading “Taiwan Is Not A Part Of China.”
A competitor brand would be Ciongzo (衝組), tied to heavy metal band Chthonic (閃靈), which also produced Taiwanese identity and Taiwanese independence-themed apparel. Chthonic later became involved in the production of a Taiwanese-independence themed craft beer, “Independence Beer” (獨立啤酒), as well.
Clothing for certain causes, such as Taiwan’s rural movement or the anti-nuclear movement, were also prominent, with certain anti-nuclear or rural movement t-shirts and bags becoming popular among Taiwanese youth activists. V for Vendetta masks, drawing from the popularity of such masks during the Occupy Wall Street Movement, were also popular.
Radicalization Studio tabling during a demonstration on Ketagalan Boulevard. Photo credit: Radicalization Studio
A number of posters also became popular among activists, such as “No Nukes, No More Fukushima” anti-nuclear poster or the “I Am Taiwanese, I Stand For Taiwanese Independence” poster which became a ubiquitous feature at activist coffee shops and the like. Other merchandise included stickers and ribbons, often tied to bags. The work of Taichung-based designer and coffee shop owner Denis Chen (陳致豪) was particularly prominent, Chen having designed the “I Am Taiwanese, I Stand For Taiwanese Independence” poster, as well as the “Fuck The Government” poster and later stickers which became popular among Taiwanese activists such as Taiwan passport stickers, and Taiwan No. 1 stickers.
Clothing and apparel was crucial in cementing ties among Taiwanese youth activists as a form of “subculture”. One could, for example, scan a subway or coffee shop and see who was a youth activist based on their clothing, the ribbons tied to their bags, or the stickers on their laptops.
Apart from clothing, activist merchandise including activist board games produced by Godyu (神遊有限公司), with games such as Let the Shoes Fly (讓鞋子飛), based on the incident in which Chen Wei-Ting threw his shoe at the Miaoli county commissioner in demonstration over forced demolitions in Dapu, Miaoli, and The Wonderful Island (美麗島風雲), both of which are intended to teach about social issues in Taiwan as well as political corruption within Taiwan’s political system. A later game in a similar vein, The KMT Is Coming, was later produced by Indie DaDee, focusing specifically on the issue of KMT party assets. The sex toy company Exotica (異物) also produces merchandise either riffing playfully off of the mainstream of social movements or to educate about issues regarding gender/sexuality.
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