Malaysian Young Designers’ Competition: MODA 20th Anniversary Part 1

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It is certainly hard to point fingers at a reason for the lack of belief and respect for any sector of the creative local industry. Do we have that little faith that everything foreign is better than homegrown or did that reason stem from the constant plagiarism of ideas from foreign ads, music etc. – that we claim to “borrow” as inspiration? Partly the reason why this thought is the intro to this report is because of the mixed reaction that some had towards the Malaysian Young Designer’s Competition that was held recently in conjunction with the Malaysian Official Designers Association’s (MODA) 20th Anniversary.

For 20 years MODA has been the guiding force behind every aspiring fashion designer that has only ever wanted to be successful and founder of MODA Gillian Hung has shown how passionate she still is in a speech or an interview – even after 20 years of still trying to bring up the local fashion industry, and we all know it ain’t easy! Everyone can complain about the dire state of things, but only a few will actually do something to help change it.

This year, the MODA event is back bigger and definitely better with the 20th Anniversary celebration split into 2 events in a single day with the first one in the afternoon being the competition where the the a fashion design student, hair stylist and make-up artist team reveal their 3 piece collection on the runway to win not only RM5000 in cash and prizes but to represent Malaysia at the Asian Young Fashion Designers’ Contest in Singapore where established local designers like Melinda Looi, Khoon Hooi and Jonathan Cheng have participated in the past years.

The show gave much insight to the future of the local fashion industry – some good, some bad and the epiphany wasn’t just about the designers themselves but everyone else watching the show. Sure you could put your intensive knowledge of fashion to access and judge – which is a tricky thing when everyone can claim to know everything that there is to know. You could say that everything at the competition that day was a weak copy of what’s already been shown elsewhere on the runway (to some extent, partially true so if you thought about that, then it’s okay). The point is, when presented the opportunity to see the future of what’s to come for the next generation we all should see with brand new eyes, I guess and I was quite pleasantly surprised at the result.

Sure some looked questionable and sure, some of them weren’t the most original but you can’t deny some of the ideas and the execution from one or 2 of the finalists had potential to become great with time and experience. For example, Bernard Chandran’s AW10 collection is a perfect example of a someone who had experience on his side to come up with a collection like that.

If there are people who already have a predetermined mindset that the competition was going to be a horror show, then nothing is ever going to change no matter how much talent there is. So are designers to blame for being unoriginal or are we’re also kinda partially to blame?

Make sure to check out Part 2: The MODA Gala coming soon. Malaysian Young Designers’ Competition was held at Pavilion on 22 July 2010. Check out the finalists’ collection here! For more info on MODA log on to

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