“Project Runway” Alum Malan Breton Answers Our 10 Questions About Taiwan

Taiwanese-born fashion designer Malan Breton began making clothes at the age of 11. However, it was his stint on the third season of Project Runway that catapulted him into the public eye. Since then, Breton has launched multiple clothing labels; costume designed for shows like Breaking Bad, Quantico, and RuPaul’s Drag Race; and counts Kylie Minogue, Celine Dion, and Linda Evangelista among his clients as a stylist.

In 2016, Breton also became an ambassador for tourism in Taiwan, and designed the island state’s government work uniforms and stationary.

Who, then, would be better to ask for what is currently in and out of fashion than Taiwan’s own native son?

1. What is the best thing about Taiwan?

My favorite thing about Taiwan is the rich historical elements that are mixed with a strong desire to evolve. Taiwan has seen many historical changes and has used its history to build its future. Taipei, and Taichung are two of the chicest destinations, as Taiwan is one of the top ports for fashion, film, culture, bourbon, sports, and the arts.

Taiwan is also one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world, many of its buildings run on clean energy, and the government agencies have been vital in developing recycling programs that utilize and recycle elements for reuse.

Photo by Ronnie Chua/Getty Images

2. What is your favorite tourist attraction?

The Shilin Night Market, and Sun Moon Lake. But I also love the nature and indigenous elements of Orchid Island. It is the most beautiful island in the world. Resting in the ocean just off the east coast of Taiwan, The Tao tribe who inhabit the island are some of the most beautiful earth-conscious people in the world.

3. And, the most overrated?

Oh! There is nothing overrated in Taiwan. So much care and attention to detail lives everywhere. Every experience you will have is something that has been given great care.

Photo by Bani Heng-yao/Getty Images

4. What one thing should every LGBTQ tourist make a point to see/do/experience in Taiwan?

Take a bicycle tour of Sun Moon Lake, and visit lantern festival during New Year. But also visit Yilin and the east coast, there is some of the best surfing and beaches there.

5. Where is the best place to meet sexy locals?

Everywhere! The people in Taiwan are beautiful, kind, and friendly. Don’t be afraid to strike up conversation; most locals speak English.

6. Where is the best place to grab brunch?

There is food everywhere in Taiwan, the first thing anyone asks when they see you is if you have eaten yet. For tourists I recommend DinTai Fung, it’s traditional. Their soup dumplings are magical.

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7. Where is the best place to get a cocktail?

Best place for a cocktail is AHA Saloon my favorite no question.

8. Which hotel would you check into?

I always stay at the Regent, it’s central to the night markets, shopping, and if you need a quick tailored suit there are tailors right next door that can turn out beautiful garments in a day. Palais De Chine is a lovely boutique hotel I’ve stayed at as well. It depends on if you want city or nature. If you want nature, Silks Palace in Taroko Gorge is stunning. Also try the indigenous rice cooked in bamboo from the local market. If you want a day on the water, my favorite waterfront hotel in Sun Moon lake is The Lalu. It’s my favorite waterfront hotel in all of Taiwan, as they have the best spa there.

Photo by Didier Marti/Getty Images

9. The best neighborhood to spend an afternoon?

I love Beitou hot springs, it’s the perfect spot to relax surrounded by history and nature.

10. Who or what is everyone in Taiwan talking about right now?

Taipei recently had its first Fashion Weeks. It’s exciting because Taiwan is one of the strongest fashion spots in the world. I spoke there. The topic was the ’Evolution of Fashion, and Taiwan’s Influence on the Industry, and in the International Marketplace.’

Bryan van Gorder usually writes about the places he's been or the famous people forced to talk to him.
@bvangorder