Taiwan's garment market has gained competition in the past few years; fashion brands from Japan and Spain have entered the Taiwanese market and attracted local consumers. The long queues outsides foreign fashion brand flagship stores have become a news focus.
Local brand, Lativ, has managed to survive in the competition by its online shopping and ‘Made-in-Taiwan’ marketing strategy. The design of Lativ is similar to Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo, targeting the popular market with very low price. Its fashions are sold online via popular portal websites such as Yahoo! Kimo [zh], and YouTube Ads with catchy slogans such as “Made in Taiwan” (MIT), and “A Renaissance of the Taiwan Garment Industry”.
Lativ has been very successful in the local market. In 2011, its annual sales reached [New Taiwanese Dollar] NT 4 billion (approximately USD 12 million) and its staff had 40 months salary as their bonus, and its success has encouraged many local entrepreneurs to enter the popular fashion market.
However, in early February 2012, its website issued a statement [zh] that ruined the image of its Taiwanese brand:
This February, when you returned back to your work after the Spring festival, we had changed into a new system with a new image for our service.
On February 1, we received a lot of opinions about the new system, most of the comments asking us to restore the “Made in Taiwan” [MIT] tag.
However, we do not have enough of a labour force for a production line in the Taiwanese garment industry. Please refer to this blog post: ‘The conditions and challenges of Made in Taiwan‘ [zh].
Since 2010, Lativ has started to relocate production to Vietnam, Indonesia and Mainland China as the local factories [in Taiwan] could not afford to take our order. Some raw materials are still locally produced. However, the ‘Made in Taiwan’ tag would be misleading to our consumers.
The core value of Lativ is always ‘quality’. However, when our production was relocated overseas, we had to adjust the MIT tag.
Eventually, we will remove the origin of production tag but keep other details according to Taiwanese law.
If you have to stick to ‘Made in Taiwan’ products, let us sincerely remind you to be cautious before you place any order, as we do not have such a production environment in Taiwan. Since our establishment in 2007, we have witnessed the change in Taiwan garment industry, and we also feel very sad to speak out about such facts. However, we would like to assure you that we will continue to provide top quality products.
The factories that we are working with are the best quality ones in the global production lines. They produce the most well-established global brands. All our products in 2012 will strictly follow the CNS 15290 requirement. Please be assured of our quality.
The statement has stirred up a heated debate online. Many netizens feel disappointed and cheated and they call for a boycott of Lativ's product. Prominent blogger Miss pretty Xixi's opinion is most representational of netizens’ opinions [zh]:
不 爽 不 要 买～ 登登！
Who said “Give Taiwan Industry a Change” at the very beginning?
Now you say everything is a misunderstanding
If you have to stick to “Made in Taiwan”, let us sincerely remind you…
[In simple terms] don't buy if you are unhappy! Ha!
Not only that it is no longer “MIT”
It has removed the origin of production from its websites
It is okay that the products are not “MIT”, when I shop in Taobao [zh] [Mainland China online shopping platform], the products are not “MIT”
But at least you should tell me where they come from!
Rather than making it like a lottery..
Only to find out where it comes from after we received the clothes.
Well spoken by friends from plurk [zh] [Taiwanese microblogging platform]
Love for Taiwan is just a tool for businessmen
I feel so disappointed… and sad……
Another blogger Zen called for a boycott [zh]:
不过 从今天开始 我个人不会再买
你应该重新审思 这样一个公司 背弃自己的承诺的公司(找一堆理由替自己的背弃合法化不难 难的是找到方法克服困难而不背弃承诺)
That's why they asked us to give it a chance. We accept thatThat's why they become strong
Now they use the same reason to relocate
This is so absurd
I used to buy a lot of Lativ clothes
And my friends are also their customers
But I won't buy from them again
Like what the official statement has suggested: “If you have to stick to ‘Made in Taiwan’, let us sincerely remind you to be cautious before you place the order, as we do not have such a production environment in Taiwan.”
I am not a MIT fundamentalist
But I look down upon such a business…
There are so many fashion brands in this world
Why do you have to market with a hot-blooded slogan and then trash it…
You do not have to join this boycott
However, if you have been attracted by its hot-blooded story
You had better be aware of the change in their ways of operation
You should reconsider whether to continue supporting a company that betrays its own promise (and justifies it rather than overcomes the challenge)
I won't support it anymore.
Another famous blogger Sumi Chen, author of “Taiwan Treasure” and a promoter of local brands, has recommended Lativ in the past. She said in her Facebook profile [zh] that she would no longer support this brand:
I admitted that I have highly recommended this brand in my blog before. I was moved by its story that they wanted to support local unemployed tailors who are middle aged ladies. They wanted to open up a new path for the Taiwan garment industry. The story was too hot-blooded. I still remember the pictures showing the winkles of these old ladies’ hands. I believed that if we could use our consumer power to help Taiwan garment industry to survive and provide jobs for these Taiwanese, so that they did not have to leave their families in Taiwan and work overseas, it would be OK to pay more and support such an endeavor.
Then Lativ grows quickly with the support of hot-blooded netizens. It grows so big that the Taiwanese market could not consume all its orders, that Taiwan does not have enough technical support to keep up their growth. Their dream to support the middle aged tailors has become an obstacle now.
There are also quite a number of discussions on Twitter. Below is a selection of comments:
@ivanusto: 可以抵制Lativ品牌服饰的方法有很多种，除了不买以外，对这个品牌价值的观感降到最低，也会影响已经购买Lativ服饰的消费者，当越来越多人不敢穿Lativ服装上街时，Lativ就不会再是话题了。就和香港H和G牌这两个平民服饰会有人讨论吗? 类似感觉。演变成更庶民的基本需求品牌。
@kaxing: 只能说 lativ 玩火自焚，平价品牌没有死忠用户就灰飞烟灭了。
@pipperl: 忘了说，lativ 能把冬衣做得那么薄的确需要过人的技术。 #lativ
@watertseng: 或许 #lativ 还是会继续卖的很好，赚更多的钱，但是它让一些原本认同它理念的人感到失望，犹如是欺骗一个人的感情 。