For more than three decades, Garret Louie regularly introduced the most-sought-after streetwear brands to Canada through his distribution company. But when he came up empty after looking for another new label to add to the roster, he decided it was time to start something of his own—and he was in the perfect place to do it. “Arc’teryx, Lululemon, Herschel and Reigning Champ all began in Vancouver,” says Louie. “It’s a great place [in which] to design, and [it helps us] have a global perspective.”

Taikan was launched in 2016 with a focus on versatile bags crafted with technical materials for function-meets-style designs that are genderless, clean and minimal. They’re made to move with you,all the way from a hike in the mountains to a night out on the town. When the pandemic slowed bag sales,the brand switched its attention to apparel, and Louie brought on designer Mada Phiri to help pave the way on this new path. The gamble paid off: Clothing now accounts for three-quarters of the brand’s sales.

When it came to developing its upcoming fall/winter 2023/2024 collection,Taikan stayed true to its roots by marrying utilitarian elements with elevated details for new spins on the classics and also explored different patterns and fabrics, including colour gradation, a custom desert camo and knitwear. Yet the essence of Taikan isn’t actually the fashion it creates; rather, it’s the people whom the brand partners with. Its series Taikan By has featured work from a variety of creatives, including the band BadBadNotGood, editorial photographer Conor 

Cunningham and many other emerging artists, and collaborators—from an animator creating a stop-motion campaign to a tattoo artist producing a limited-edition capsule— are given full creative control.“It’s about sharing the resources we have with each other,” says Phiri. “We want to be able to spotlight people who may not [otherwise] get the opportunity.” 

Tama Phiri


“I had some really bold pieces in my closet, but I realized I would only wear them a few times and get sick of them within a year. Part of the inspiration behind Taikan was wanting to create the perfect hoodie. Imagine one that lasts for more than a decade and that only gets softer and better. A lot of our customers don’t have the money to shop all the time, so it’s really important that [our items are] at an attainable price point. What’s exciting is when someone feels [one of] our pieces and believes it’s going to be really expensive but then checks the price and sees that it’s reasonable for the quality.” – GL


“Collaboration is one of the major pillars of the brand. We both come from creative fields. I also DJ, and Garret owns a live-music venue. We love being able to work with our friends on projects. Vancouver isn’t always on the international map when it comes to fashion, so it’s cool to create opportunities for artists to design for us and to see these clothes get shown and worn all over the world. Community is the core. You can’t build a brand alone.” – MP


“At some point, I started to realize that apparel and bags are just products. At the end of the day, clothes are often quite similar. You wear them, and they can keep you warm. But what do we want to make this brand about? What I really get excited about is working with creative people. Taikan is a play on the word ‘taken,’ and it’s about taking our creative peers on this journey with us. One of my personal mottos in business is ‘If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse. ’We’re fairly new at what we’re doing, so there’s lots of room for improvement.” – GL 

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