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Why is the fashion world talking about what this Msian did in Milan?

CILISOS.MY rarely ever writes about fashion. The closest we ever got it to it was about the different types of police uniform. Most of us wear t-shirts, we mainly buy H&M, and we’re still confused between brogues and oxford shoes. But today, the fashion world has reached peak body-positivity, and a Malaysian has something to do with it.

Every few months, the fashion industry gathers in four of the biggest fashion cities in the world to witness the unveiling of the latest collections from top and up-and-coming designers. And as for the recent Milan Men’s Fashion Week 2016, LVMH prize semifinalist and KL-based designer Moto Guo (image above, left) showcased his latest collection and made headlines all around the world. TIME, Mashable, Refinery 29, Huffington Post and more. Why? Because….


… his models were full of jerawat! On purpose!

Moto Guo S/S 2016

Moto Guo S/S 2016

Unlike fashion house ACNE where models don’t actually have acne, Moto Guo’s models strutted down the runway in typical fierce-fashion-face, but this time with aggressively blemished skin. Das right, ugaiz. If you’ve got a fresh, new pimple that you’re trying to conceal, you may wanna just let it ripen in all its full, yellow, puss-filled gory.

Critics have described Moto Guo’s latest menswear collection, as “nerdy-grooming”,”gender-fluid”, as well as “almost ridiculous and childlike outfits”. CILISOS.MY team won’t give our own take on it since we’re not the target market and we know squat about stuff like this.

So… why did he decide on this look? A spokesperson told that he had wanted to create a more natural, realistic look.

“…he thinks kids and teenagers should not always be flawless. The theme for this collection is called ‘Picnic In The Society’, where teenagers will be exposed a lot under the sun, and hence they will naturally have acne and blemishes on their faces.” – a spokesperson told

Photo from

Acne can be truly difficult to live with. We know because we had it. Photo from

Whether or not you’re grossed out, one thing’s for sure – he’s trying to break the stigma where having breakouts mean you’re hodoh gila. Society is very slowly, although not surely, letting go of the ideal beauty standards, so maybe Moto Guo’s bold, natural beauty style is one to celebrate…

… except for the fact that the pimples were artificially made with makeup too! 

Not sure if any of the models really had acne, but we found that the makeup artist behind the show used a “lip liner and eye pencil” to create pimples. Someone gave us an analogy that it’s like putting on a fat suit on a skinny model, and telling everyone it’s fine to be fat.

Roberta Betti Instagram

Roberta Betti Instagram

Although sufferers of adult acne are seeing it as counter-intuitive and offensive, we can’t entirely say that this is a bad thing since it’s for statement sake. But that doesn’t explain the fact that…


Why fashion so weird one?

Photos from various shows taken from

Cases in point. Photos from various shows taken from

While designers usually say it’s an “artistic expression of [insert fancy-pants inspiration]“, an industry insider told us that it can be used as a gimmick.

“Sometimes it’s these things that get the press and people talking about your show and remembering it. Especially since it’s a Malaysian brand showing in Milan, small fish in big pond, you need to make an impression.

But in terms of actually making some sort of social statement, eventhough it’s makeup… it does get people talking.” – Anonymous industry insider

Having your collections at a show in Milan can cost A LOT. There’s so much money to fork out for: venue, styling, production, PR, celebrities, hair & makeup, models, decor… People practically throw Hundreds of THOUSANDS of dollars for a show, so if you’re a small-timer you gotta make it worth your money. Marc Jacob’s A/W 2011 NYFW show burned at least US$1 million… that’s about US$1,750 per second.

But pizzazz aside, who’s gonna wear these weird-looking clothes anyway?! Try wearing something like this in One Utama and you’ll find a photo of yourself on Facebook with the caption, “Tolong viralkan”. Well…

Why do car companies produce concept cars that don’t get sold? It’s to get people excited about the industry, products and people involved with them.” – Quora user Doug Dingus‘ simple perspective

In the less-glamorous reality, designers sustain their businesses through more mass-market stuff like brand collabs, makeup, sunglasses, fragrances and all that. Designers know they don’t necessarily make massive profit through artistic runway shows. They show off their clothes, but don’t really expect anyone to buy. If you’re not a fan, it’s likely that some show attendees wouldn’t be, too.


Fashion can sometimes make a difference

Moto Guo’s direction to incorporate flawed skin into his collection may be altruistic or maybe even a tacky marketing move, but it certainly got the fashion world talking. It’s an uncomfortable conversation to have, but maybe one that’s needed. And as much of a joke people may make this up to be, who’s to say that it wouldn’t make a change in the grand scheme of things?

Thanks for pants, Coco. Photo taken from

Thanks for the pants, Coco. Photo taken from

If you traced back to the age of fashion icon Coco Chanel, you’d learn that women wore binding corsets and skirts for the longest time. Pants? Those were exclusively male-only, and she was none too pleased with it. On one uncomfortable horse ride, she literally took the pants off a male rider and made them her own. Breaking the rules 80 years ago wasn’t easy, but she rebelled her way against society’s standards to give women a sense of freedom and their bodies back to themselves.

It’s not often that the fashion industry tries to make the world a better place, but when it does, it can be a beautiful thing.


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