Master & protege

04 Mar 2019 / 11:49 H.

WE UNCONSCIOUSLY attempt to keep up with the increasing momentum of life, in other words, we’ve become superficial, and fashion is a little if not, very much similar. It is literally on the surface of the skin, we see what’s only visible and apparent to the eyes, but if we look deeper, shifting our gaze beyond, we might just understand the fashion industry better and how individuals perceive themselves.

It’s like the candid reality of what happens at a magazine, or the fashion industry in general, that is getting more and more misrepresented by the portrayal of current mainstream media that has been ingrained in young people.

The fact that the fashion industry has developed synonymously with the entertainment industry and shown at full comedic effect - from the TV shows like Project Runway to Ugly Betty, and The Devil Wears Prada - have been both good and bad.

On one hand, it’s great to witness the influence of how fashion overarches into the entertainment industry with global reach; on the other hand, it’s misleading to see stereotypical portrayals of fashion individuals adorned with gifts, and seen attending parties, while the unfortunates at the bottom of the totem pole are exploited, sent out on errands or take on tasks less substantial.

It may partially be true, but in reality, it isn’t what it looks like in the movies. In the real world, it means stepping out of the bubble and starting from ground zero, most importantly; it means to align your grand expectations with the delicate reality of fashion.

Without a shred of doubt or irony, fashion as we know it would not be able to operate without the relentless support and assistance of interns.

However, with merely two years of fashion education under their belt, fashion students are required to do a period of work placement while applying what they’ve been taught in an industry setting. For many, the experience gained is often more beneficial than the information learned at school.

Even so, universities are churning out batches after batches of fashion graduates each year on top of the increasingly competitive industry, with no guarantee of job offers, leaving nothing but college debt at the expense of their families. So what do we make of it?

As harsh as it sounds, an internship is the first step a young professional is able to get on the networking ladder, more so it’s an opportunity to gain valuable insights into the industry. An employer evaluates potential interns to hire based on their respective portfolios in terms of creativity, personality, ability and commitment to fulfil collaborative roles.

Creative director of his eponymous label, Moto Guo shares: “We encourage interns to be proactive at all times. Speaking from experience, interns do think that they’re proactive but many turn out differently.

“If I’m an intern, I’ll make the most out of my internship. I’m very inquisitive by nature; always asking questions that I’m curious about because you’ve only got a couple of months to shine, so why not take advantage of it?

“Especially when working with small brands with so few people working so closely together, the environment becomes intimate whereby we can basically see what each other is doing, therefore, being observant is good too.

“But we don’t spoon feed. I don’t think we can sit down and educate the interns extensively about everything. I just hope they can be more diligent and tenacious in asking questions, and never be afraid to learn.

“When I travelled overseas, I had the chance to speak to international designers - each of them has a history of working with other established brands and designers. As for everyone in Motoguo, none of us had any internship experience; it really is a shame.”


Moto Guo rides zeitgeists like no one else since the debut of his brand in 2015 and subsequently was joined by co-creative director Kinder Eng. After all, he is the first ever Malaysian, out of 23 semi-finalists shortlisted for the coveted 2016 LVMH Prize for Young Designers.

Considering his penchant for the subversive wit that lies dormant in the recesses of the human mind, it’s difficult not to wonder in what world do the archetypal Motoguo boys and girls inhabit in?

No doubt it’s for the coterie that favours its eccentricity filled with cynical sarcasm and self-deprecating humour. It is clear that Motoguo is in on the joke and part of the game is riding on that joke.

In the previous Autumn/Winter 2018 collection, “The Rite of Spring” entails the possibility of a sequel. In response to the insatiable demand for an answer, the duo presents the latest Spring/Summer 2019 collection “New World Coming” as imageries of the perfect world they’ve created for the deaths.

“The brand’s identity crisis was part of the inspiration,” Guo explains blatantly with intended irony while hinting or rather asking more ambitious questions of how.

Now that they’re at crossroads, how do they permeate the public discourse? How do they morph into a different incarnation? Could this predicament be a reaction to the fashion industry itself or a retreat?

He shares: “We’ve been struggling to pull through. Despite being at this stage of evolution, we are still stuck.”

Any successful brand is always welcome to discover and celebrate the freedom of unfettered creativity, but there’s also the need to find the middle ground between the business of fashion and the business of art.

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