By Jonathan Fong
1) Integral 03 Taipei (Permanently Closed)
No.27, Ln. 187, Sec. 1, Dunhua S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City 106, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
*Integral 03 Taipei has been replaced by Suprize store in August 2015, now located at No. 155, 4th Floor, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
My favorite spot on this list by far – Integral 03 Taipei has got super friendly staff (be sure to say hi to the friendly bespectacled staff Anthony when you do visit) and a wide range of great products to boot. It carries skateboard and streetwear brands including FTC, APC, Carhartt, aNYthing, Quiet Life, 10 Deep and Nike SB. Expect to hear old school hip-hop pumping on the stereo and skate videos being screened on their huge video wall.
If you are an SB head, this is the spot to score some heat that we might have missed in Singapore. Neckface Blazers anybody?
2) Juice Taipei
No.38, Ln. 161, Sec. 1, Dunhua S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei, Taiwan
Why visit Juice Taipei? Because your inner Edison Chen fanboy wants you too! Seriously though, how can you afford to pass on the opportunity to check out possibly the dopest, hypest store in Taipei? Sure, the limited edition collab items have probably been sold out seconds into their release to punters who have waited hours, but there’s still plenty to witness, explore and drop cash on. Aside from Clot, Juice stocks brands like Hood By Air, Original Fake and Perks And Mini.
3) Invincible (East)
No.3, Alley 35, Lane 181, Section 4, ZhongXiao East Road, Daan Dis
I only learned about Invincible after their New Balance release; apparently this store was opened by two Taiwanese TV personalities. On my initial visit to the East store located in Dong Qu, there was a release for TOMS shoes and, naturally, a line of women waiting to get in.
With absolutely no interest for standing in line for TOMS, I left and returned to Invincible two days later. No line this time, but the store was still pretty packed with people (mostly women) grabbing pairs of TOMS as if they were going out of style. Perhaps it was a super limited collab that I was missing out on but I chose instead to check out Invincible’s other extensive range of products including Porter, Original Fake and sneakers by all the major brands.
Forget about bugging the staff to check if they have any pairs of the New Balance collab left over, I couldn’t even get someone to assist me for sizing on their Stussy collab tee. Blame it on TOMS for me walking out empty handed.
1F., No.27, Aly. 35, Ln. 181, Sec. 4, Zhongxiao E. Rd, Da’an Dist., Taipei City 106, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Phantaci is the place to buy your kid sister/girlfriend/wife/grandma presents. Yes, this is Jay Chou’s retail crib and in this space, his exclusive Phantaci line of clothing, accessories and merchandise spans two levels. If you’re not into his label then check out the kicks they have for sale here, you might be in for a surprise or two – there were still pairs of the New Balance x Staple 577 ‘Black Pigeon’ for retail in select sizes when I visited.
5) Millionaire Boys Club
It’s inevitable that you will be dragged along to Ximending to experience the tourist crush with 65,337 others. If you do, there’s always the MBC, aka Millionaire Boys Club, to check out. Don’t be too quick to dismiss this as a Pharrell rip off/joke store, they carry a good selection of Dissizit!, LRG, Staple, Stussy and Undefeated, with many items for clearance. I bagged two steals in the form of Stussy x John K (Ren and Stimpy) tees for only SGD15 each!
6) EST! Select Store
Zhongxiao E. Rd, Taipei 170, Alley 18, Lane B1
*Current store locations: 1F, No. 35-1 Xiaodong Street, Shilin District, Taipei City (near Ximending) and No. 105, Yizhong Street, North District, Taichung City
If resellers make you angry, do not visit this shop. If being eyeballed for checking out products at inflated prices offends you, do not enter this shop. If you’d like to see what the cool kids in Taipei are jiving for, what’s hype, and at what price, then EST! Select Store is the spot. Tucked in a nice cosy corner, EST! has got Supreme box logo tees, Mastermind Japan Adidas’, Shawn Yue’s New Balance collab and many other products going at reseller prices. While this spot is by no means Flight Club NYC, it might be a worthy stop in the Ximending area where you might find a much coveted pair of grails. Well, they did have Nike SB Krampus’ going at SGD220.
Straat Smart Tips: Taipei
• Forget Ximending, Dong Qu (East District) is where it’s at now. Dong Qu is where nearly all the cool shops are. Nearest MRT stations are either Zhongxiao Fuxing or Zhongxiao Dunhua.
• In Taipei, shops open till late! Most shops in Dong Qu operate from noon to 9pm on weekdays and till 10 or 11pm on the weekends, so you have time.
• Our list doesn’t include A Bathing Ape and Stussy but don’t let that stop you from hunting them down; the newly opened Stussy Taipei chapter store is worth a visit.
• Before making payment for your purchases, if it’s not already obvious, inform the cashier that you are in fact a tourist and enquire about tax rebates. On more than one occasion, this writer got an extra 5% off his total bill, which only meant more cash for drinks at the bar later.