Moto Guo, Founder and Artistic Director / Kinder Eng, Creative Partner

BIO: Launched in 2015, the founder of this distinctive menswear label was the first-ever Malaysian designer to be shortlisted for the prestigious LVMH award in 2016.

I was studying classical music, from which I developed an interest in anything related to art, including reading more books, magazines and articles about fashion. In 2011, I decided to pursue my passion for fashion on a full time basis. While the process has been long and slow, the transition was much easier than I expected.

The LVMH semi-finalist announcement really helped a lot in terms of exposure, as we had the opportunity to meet a lot of important people which opened lots of doors for us. We never expected to make it that far. We were there mainly for the experience and to have fun, which is what I want for those who wear my clothes – to have fun, and to feel unique and special. I personally like to stand out of the crowd so, perhaps, I subconsciously want my customers to feel the same way. And we can definitely see that our buyers love the crazier pieces, hence the direction of our collection. I wouldn’t call my style avant-garde because I feel this word has been overused – plus I think crazy is a lot more fun!

I believe that designers must contribute to society by providing new ideas. For example, most of the styles that you see now actually began as a crazy idea introduced by designers over a decade ago. It took that amount of time for society to digest and filter their message before it became the norm. As for the local fashion scene, it’s slowly growing and moving in a better direction, but it still needs to catch up with the rest of the world.

I think that everyone involved in this industry needs to be more united, to be more on the same page. Right now, we can’t even compare with our neighbours in Thailand. Coming from a multicultural society should be an advantage, not a limitation. Malaysians need to be more educated about fashion, but you can’t blame them since fashion is not a main priority here, which is why most buyers prefer fast fashion or to play it safe. They would either pay a bit more to buy from established big brands or spend less by choosing mass brands, rather than support independent designers or labels. It’s a tough mission to educate the buyers here, but we can’t blame them since there are so many other factors involved. Since it is such a tough cycle to break, it is challenging for local designers to break through.

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4

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