Kok Loong Ho
Couture Designer & Owner of The MOD House
“Life is all about what you want to do, regardless of your background.”
The latest Couture Fashion Week in New York held a very important element – The MOD House by Malaysian designer KL Ho imprinted on the famous Manhattan runway. Featuring a stunning haute couture collection of Asian-inspired qipao, both shows at the Crowne Plaza Times Square and The Pierre, A Taj Hotel, were fully attended and well received by international fashion buyers, media, socialites and celebrities. The MOD (Malaysian Original Design) House received immediate enquiries and invitations to future couture fashion events in London, Paris and Dubai. With the assistance of Matrade Malaysia and Matrade New York, the label successfully penetrated the US market with its ready-to-wear collection as well.
Once an accountant, Ho jokes about venturing from dealing with ‘figures’ on spreadsheets to dressing beautiful feminine ‘figures’ in the glitzy and glamorous world of fashion.
The Seremban boy who studied accountancy and filmmaking started work with KPMG before taking a leap of faith into fashion retail and wholesale. He was soon bosom buddies with top Malaysian designers while the shopping malls were busy clamouring for him. From there on 11 MOD Houses were set up in major shopping centres in Penang and Kuala Lumpur.
“Life is all about what you want to do, regardless of your background. I started my fashion journey without any formal education. Relied on my instincts, feelings and horse sense a long way before signing up for a fashion design course later on.”
While the name KL Ho and The MOD House label soared from local to international recognition, Ho believes that fashion must be practical too. “Currently I’m working on ready-to-wear office attires, available for online purchase and rental. Ladies will now be able to rent work dresses daily. This will ease dressing woes and benefit them economically.”
After 15 years in the industry, fashionistas are beginning to trust and revere his creations. Ho was in Melbourne recently to explore possibilities of working with Australian designers and fashion institutes like RMIT.
To me every designer has their personal touch and uniqueness. I don’t really know how to rank myself, but people are starting to recognise my creations especially in the marriage of the Eastern and Western cultures.
“I would love to help aspiring fashion designers, if possible. For newcomers, their biggest problem is to get manufacturers to produce for them. I have a platform where they can contribute their designs while I navigate production and contemplate marketing strategies for them.”
Wearing many hats with ease, this designer extraordinaire will continue to spin bespoke magic, create prêt-à-porter lines and be the commander of his fashion production house with great style and originality.
By Billie Ooi-Ng Lean Gaik