Motoguo emerged 5 years ago and already imposed its strong identity. The brand has its unique vision of what to bring to the fashion industry. It isn't an easy path, founders Moto Guo and Kinder Eng have faced many challenges to get to where they are today. The mind-blowing aesthetics, the unique campaigns and a sense of sustainability, not one details slips away, Motoguo is the fruit of hard work, however, the brand will never miss the chance to make room for improvements.
Motoguo was founded in 2015, directed by Moto Guo and Kinder. How did it all start?
It all started with Moto presenting his graduation collection which caught the attention of a buyer from Wut Berlin in Tokyo and also a feature on a magazine! Since then, with the help of Creative Director, Kinder Eng and business partner, Jay Perry Ang, the label Motoguo was born.
You work as a duo and you're also partners, so I’d like to know more about how the two of you work together. Is each of you in charge of specific areas? Or do you it all together?
We both take charge of the creative process together and backing each other up. The upside to working as partners is being able to solve and overcome the many problems we face together as a team.
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As an emerging, young brand in an increasingly packed industry, what challenges do you usually face?
The challenges we have faced overall was the sheer acceptance of our brand's aesthetics. At first, many people who were new to our brand were quite sceptical about the wearability but once they’ve seen them as individual pieces, they have come to realise it is actually wearable.
Given the fact, an important factor as a brand is to also educate the consumers about the brand, like the fact that some of our pieces have vintage buttons, and it is also important to believe in your own brand's aesthetics all the way and not be wavered by fast trends and mass commerciality.
Congratulations on your Spring/Summer 2021 collection, presented digitally in October at the Paris Fashion Week platform! The collection is amazing, the aesthetics are mesmerising and the campaign is hypnotising – overall, the brand really stands out. What were your main inspirations for this season?
Thank you! The Spring/Summer 2021 collection was inspired by hearing good news during these hard times, such as our achievements and recognitions to the label’s very own mini milestone or hearing that our close friends are getting married. Together, with this positivity creates layers of emotions which bore the very essence of this collection. Our collection is a portrayal of love, happiness and blessedness towards their most cherished ones.
Choose five words describing this new collection.
Home, love, happiness, blessed, joyful.
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I’ve read online that Motoguo was defined as “the Wes Anderson of fashion.” What do you think about this? Who do you look up to in general?
Wes Anderson’s style is known for the use of unique colours and the wonderful symmetrical scenes. As his stories are shrouded in dark humour, usually conveying the cruel realistic messages wrapped in visuals of wonder and joy. It’s very much like us, using metaphors of our bad experiences and twisting it to an innocent but naughty detail into our designs. Most importantly, what we could relate to the most was the use of the music in Wes’s movies. Just like us, we take selecting our music very seriously for our runway, setting the mood for a cinematographic experience to our audience.
Originally, the brand was thought for menswear but, as seen today, you gave it a different twist; it has become gender-fluid, eccentric, cynical, all-over quirky patterns. What made you change directions?
In the beginning, as a menswear label, we’d always embraced the femininity and flamboyance from our menswear designs but as the label progressed, we started to notice the shift that our female audiences were dawning our menswear. Since then, we decided that our label should transcend the boundaries of gender and we embraced the femininity and flamboyance for all.
We are interested to know more about the Malaysian fashion scene. Does the country’s culture somehow push you to aim towards something more genderless?
We think that the Malaysian fashion scene is booming but the system needs to be restructured. There need to be more initiatives that cater to not just the fashion scene but also the art scene, as we think that our local creatives can benefit from this change. The aim to push for something more genderless was our aim to educate the public, as our culture is still rather conservative.
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Your campaigns are often really well thought out, not one detail slips away. Could you explain to us your creative process? How do you usually choose with whom you want to work with? Who are you envisioning to collaborate with in the future?
With the visions we have created, it is important to find the right collaborator for the right execution as we have always loved working with Zhong Lin and Lee Wei Swee for our campaign’s photography. Both photographers are close to hearts as well because Zhong Lin was born and raised Malaysian and Lee Wei Swee is half-Malaysian but both of them are now based in Taiwan and Paris, and they shine bright to the world. On envisioning who to collaborate with in the future, we hope to be able to work with Filip Custic from Spain, whom we adore!
In the complex fashion world, Motoguo is all about being straightforward and simple. What else does the brand express?
We bring the reminiscences of everyone’s childhood nostalgia immersed in playfulness and whimsicality, topped with a sparkle the of cynicism. Yet our cynicism often portrays the dark humour or irony of our vision of fashion, hinting subliminal messages they might speak the truths that are often hard to swallow or just to show the world to have fun and not take things too seriously.
The fashion industry has been criticised over the years for being one of the biggest industries severely impacting our environment, are you taking any initiatives to be greener? What actions are you taking to be more sustainable?
We take careful measures on sustainability without compromise to our quality. We often use vintage fabrics for our collection and our vintage buttons are also individually sourced and filtered by hand, they may be considered as used but we educate our consumers that they are precious mementoes and are not to be seen as flaws, but quirks for a second life.
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What are your views regarding the impact of the pandemic on fashion? How are you professionally dealing with this massive world change? And how did you cope personally with the first lockdown?
For the first time, the industry went into an abrupt pause, but we still kept busy restructuring, re-strategising and mentally adapting to this new norm and also preparing for the worst. With that being said, we saw it as a blessing and a curse, as it gave us time to reflect and ponder on what we wanted to achieve for the future of our brand.
As the brand is just 5 years old, what advice can you give to emerging fashion labels? What is next for Motoguo? Any projects in this uncertain future?
Working hard to build a stable business strategically and creatively! Reflect on the brand’s core and ideals and not be wavered by fast trends and mass commerciality. In times of uncertainty such as now, it is important to solidify ourselves in the market and keep improving ourselves. So do expect more exciting things from Motoguo in the near future!
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