At the beginning of 1993, I was only a few months into adjusting to a new life in Taipei again. That was after returning from Shanghai due to the breakdown of my marriage. I had adopted the local rhythms of life and enjoyed window shopping like most of the Taipei girls do in their spare time. On the day I saw this particular skirt, well it was new love at first sight. This A-line midi skirt in Taipei’s Pacific Sogo department store lightened up my mood which needed lightening and I knew I had to have it…
Working as a freelance writer meaning I had to save up to go back and buy it. Well I sure did. The reddish earthy tone and dot print pattern reminded me of Australian aboriginal artwork. Australia, my other home. I loved that skirt so much that when my second book Shanghai 1992* was published in Taiwan in June that year; two photos used were of me wearing that very skirt as illustrations in the book. One portrait in the skirt was printed on my book’s back-cover. Perhaps it’s symbolic that this skirt has since become a part of my personal journey.
Year 1996 to 1998…
My ‘Australian skirt’ reached its prime time – both the frequency of being worn and the compliments it won for me. ‘It’s very you!’ I was complimented by my then English boyfriend. He had even forbidden his native Taiwanese dog, his beloved pet named Dingo from pawing against my skirt, because it was ‘too good to be ruined’.
Year 2000 to 2014…
Moving back to Sydney in the year 2000. I eventually took my ‘Australian skirt’ to Australia, where I supposed it fitted in most naturally due to it’s design. And then I didn’t wear it once! During all those years, though I did think of restyling it in a more summery way; I didn’t really follow up with action. It remained folded and hidden somewhere – out of sight, out of mind. Until one day I dug it out for some reason and found little holes in several spots, some were larger than others… I was devastated that my lovely fine woollen skirt had been eaten by silverfish. What is it they say, nothing lasts forever! What to do, what would you do?
To save or to toss it, that was the question. Well I was emotionally attached and could not let it go lightly; after all, it was one of my favourite fashion items. So I took it to a trusted seamstress for repairs. I convinced my seamstress to cut out a piece of fabric from the inner seam and use it to cover-up the most visible hole. I was rather confident that it’d work because of the patchwork pattern. No one would notice unless they really looked for it. And I was right, no one noticed it. Just like that, my skirt was saved, and its second fashion life began in Australia.
The beginning of 2019 I started planning a trip to Uluru. It’s meant to be a celebration trip for the 30th anniversary of my Australia immigrant life. My ‘born again’ skirt travelled with me to the Australian outback where it blended in with the red soil, the desert plants and aboriginal paintings so beautifully! On our photoshoot and any outing I constantly had fellow travellers ask if I had purchased it in the local indigenous shops during our stay. ‘I bought it in Taipei 26 years ago!’ I proudly replied. And that became my most cherished and enjoyable times I had from wearing it!
Perhaps this vintage skirt has finally fulfilled its purpose; a Made in Taiwan number worn timelessly today in true slow fashion style. This post also sets the tone of what’s to come in My (2020) Resort Wardrobe, as I wish to encourage more sustainable, ethical fashion and vintage wear.
Do you keep a garment that you have treasured for years and years? What is the story behind it?
*Shanghai 1992 is 9 short stories about Shanghai as I saw it.
Outfit Of The Day
Miu Miu sunglasses
Louis Cardini belt
Polo Ralph Lauren crossbody bag