No doubt one of the most daring designers not just to come out of Malaysia but in the fashion industry as a whole, motoguo has created a genre of his own comprising of whimsicality, surrealism, and just pure joy. Fashion can be about escapism and aspiration and motoguo’s designs combine them both; delivering them through his eponymous label’s signature lens of cynicism and romanticism. Ingenious knitwear, other-wordily prints, and deconstructing conventional tropes of gender are imbued in the DNA of motoguo. If his global recognition wasn’t already enough, a motoguo creation made a cameo on Lexi Howard during an episode of Euphoria (season 2, episode 3 to be exact). BAZAAR speaks with motoguo to discuss the designer’s work and the future of Malaysian fashion.
How would you describe your work and how do you challenge yourself to push sartorial boundaries even further?
motoguo (MG): We challenge ourselves by making clothes that spark emotions in the wearer and not just serve as eye candy. It motivates us to build a connection and emotion with the wearer through details sprinkled in our clothing.
Your work typically transcends boundaries of gender. Are menswear and womenswear tropes of the past?
MG: We respect the art of traditional tailoring and dressmaking too much to agree with the notion that ‘menswear and womenswear are tropes of the past. What we thrive in is swapping details in garments that are generally associated with only one specific gender. Think of it as breaking down any preconceived notion by giving the other genders the chance to experience different details.
Your pieces have an international sensibility about them. How do you incorporate your Malaysian roots into your work? How does Malaysian culture factor into the motoguo aesthetic?
MG: The feeling of nostalgia plays a crucial role in all our collections. Look hard enough and you can spot many easter eggs in our designs that Malaysians would find relatable, for example, earrings from Spring/Summer 2017 that borrows inspiration from what we use to keep our bread fresh every morning.
You once mentioned in an interview that the Malaysian fashion system needs to be restructured. Can you explain what needs to change?
MG: Education would be a good start. We need to stop telling kids that art and fashion are only for people who did badly in their studies. Furthermore, the industry could also benefit from initiative and support on an institutional level to give the local art and fashion scene a healthy breeding ground.
Where do you see the future of Malaysian fashion heading?
MG: We think the future of Malaysian fashion ties closely with the future of the country on a larger scale.
Motoguo takes measures to apply sustainable practices without compromising on quality. As a result, your work often includes vintage fabrics. Can you tell us about how you incorporate the past while thinking of the future?
MG: We are fascinated with the qualities of vintage clothing found in thrift stores and archival shops. The attention to detail and durability are qualities that deserve to be resuscitated in a world so caught up on speed and trend.
Our brand vows to keep the spirit of the past as we create the future. One of the many ways we build a relationship with the past is through the use of assorted vintage buttons. These assortments of buttons are hand-picked and filtered to ensure the qualities of our work whilst preserving the memories of the past
What inspires your creative vision?
MG: Our main inspiration comes from our life experiences. Our collections are the direct derivative of our unique life experiences.
What’s next for motoguo?
MG: You’ll just have to stick around and find out.
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All images courtesy.