Maybe best known for his bold statement of sending models with acne-covered faces down the runway, Malaysian designer Moto Guo swaddles the human figure in designs weaved in delightful, quirky tales. Stitching garments laden with politically charged ideas and adolescent elements, a conception of the human body that disregards judgmental gazes bursts at each item’s seams.
Similar to his attempts to transcend the human body beyond its physicality, Moto Guo elevates his garments beyond mere fabric, creating an unusual landscape swathed in colourful splendour and glazed with a layer of cynical, dark humour. Set to become the silver lining to fashion’s misery, we sat down with the ascending label’s head designer and his creative partner Kinder Eng to discuss body politics.
What impact do you think social media have on shaping our ideals of beauty?
There is always a good and a bad side. Nowadays, it’s easier and more convenient for people to explore or understand different kinds of beauty through social media; it’s easier for people to express themselves. Which is good, but at the same time we are taught that “nipples are not safe” by some idiotic social media T&C.
Do you see your designs as a form of protest?
Yes, definitely. I see all my work as a form of protest.
Do you believe your body limits you in any way? If so, (how) do you try to overcome this?
Moto: It limits me as I can’t put on my own work—haha—but I don’t really think that matters.
Kinder: I think so, because I have this ideal body figure that I want to achieve in my mind and my only way to overcome it is to embrace it. When I create fashion as imaged on my existing body figure, I think an interesting, unique clash and aesthetic occur, which are entirely mine.
Where do you get your body confidence? Do you think it is possible to be 100% confident in your own body?
Moto: From my life experience, I guess. It really depends on my mindset.
Kinder: From my other half. In my opinion being 100% confident is impossible, but I’m fond of all kinds of imperfections.
What advice would you give to your younger self regarding body positivity?
Moto: I would not give any advice, I think. I really appreciate all experiences I went through and they shaped who I am now. Things happened as they should have happened.
Kinder: Do not eat too much and take more selfies.
What does femininity/masculinity mean to you?
Masculinity and femininity are qualities of all human beings.