An Internal Dialectic After the MOOHONG Fashion Show


My parents are cooler than me. I know that.

Since they forayed into the world of fashion - where exists two seasons instead of four, a vocabulary of words like "norm core," and an acceptance of Mom in 1.75" Opening Ceremony platform slip-ons and Dad in lime green and zippers - this has become impossibly clear. With the territory of this world comes, as with pretty much everything, its perks and its pitfalls. For better or for worse, bizarre ensembles are simply, as Project Runway's Christian Siriano would have it, fierce. This perspective enables blasé confidence, the best armor to wear with whatever. This, the ability to dress to one's heart's desire without reservation, I say, is brilliant. And I'd argue further that fashion is not only, if at all about fabrics and threads. Rather, it is an art form. Of this, the impeccably decisive fashion designer Moohong Kim has me convinced. His eponymous line MOOHONG showed today at Seoul Fashion Week a presentation of clothing, methodical and affecting in both structure and concept. Off the frames of pale, high cheek-boned, monk-like models hung layers, mostly black, sometimes tiers, sometimes draped - always purposeful. The music, chosen by Moohong, started off as crackly ambient sound, before transitioning into piano and a male voice murmuring "You never left, you're always here."

Fashion reflects thinking and personality. Before he became a designer, Moohong's handle read University of Warwick Political Science Ph.D. In an atmosphere where those in fashion are often rejected as being dually scholarly or in like manner where scholars must scoff at fashion in order to retain credibility, Moohong and his designs bridge this disconnect between the academic and the fashion world. When both circles are informed by current events, discussion and design and yet somehow are always at odds, this connection is compelling.

I admit that the critics of fashion have a point. On the other side of fearlessness in head-to-toe paisley and the opportunity for unadulterated self-expression is a rather unfortunate truth. Sometimes, fashion (the industry, the clothing, the designers outright) slaps shame at the overweight, the wrinkly, people of color and cheaply appropriates cultures. Sometimes, it agitates, rearing self-consciousness in the gut like an allergic reaction. It is not a perfect industry; there is certainly, maybe always, more to say. But I'll place here these wisely-chosen lyrics as they apply to fashion, discussion, discovery: "You never left, you're always here.” Perhaps, that’s the answer to the recurrent question of fashion’s "point:" to never leave. To always be here, cycling, mirroring, provoking.