Patterns from the past have frequently been a source of creative ideas for fashion textiles. Culturally-inspired fashion products reflect traditional beauty, cultural identity, and national image, and preserve national cultural heritage (Perivoliotis, 2005; Hyun and Bae, 2007; Cho, 2009). The 'Tree of Life' or, as it is sometimes known, the 'Flower of Life', is a motif used to express ideas about immortality and the origins of life. As such, this motif has been an important element of traditional art and craft, frequently being incorporated into traditional textiles. The findings of Chinese interviews show that tree worship is still important, as are 'Tree of Life' patterns in China. Chinese 'Tree of Life' patterns are associated with fertility worship, longevity (long life) and immortality (eternal life). The review of literature and the findings from Taiwanese interviews indicate that elements of traditional Chinese patterns are suitable use in modern fashion, because Chinese imagery is a rich source of inspiration for contemporary textile designs, and China chic is pervasive in today's fashion. Exploring the relevance of the 'Tree of Life' pattern for the Taiwanese market, it was found that Taiwanese customers would be happy to see traditionally patterned designs of textile or clothing. This was felt to be important for the Taiwanese textile and fashion industry, which is currently in a state of change as it becomes design-focused rather than purely manufacturing-led. With fieldwork carried out in both China and Taiwan, and an investigation into the design process, the research concludes that the 'Tree of Life' can be re-created and adapted in different ways for fashion textile designs for the Taiwanese market. In addition, a model of a new design process for reinterpreting traditional patterns into contemporary ones is proposed. University students and designers can apply this design process model to any textile design project based on traditional patterns.