You know those days when you just want to throw on a t-shirt and jeans? Or roll out of the house in some sweatpants? Well… I never have those days. Chances of seeing me in pants are extremely rare and living in Korea for so many years drilled in deep the habit of never leaving the house without being fully put together – be that for better or worse. So when I want a quick and easy get ready or to feel ultra comfortable, I want a mumu. And if I’m not wearing a mumu, I wish I were.
Mumus (or muʻumuʻu for the correct Hawaiian spelling) get a bad rap. Most people think of an overweight woman perched on her la-z-boy eating Cheetos perched or a hefty Polynesian woman picking her pineapples. That or an eccentric grandma who never bothered to change out of her nightgown ala Three’s Company Mrs. Roper style. To be fair, these stereotypes are mostly valid. But to me, the mumu is the ideal garment. It’s inherently ethnic, simple, easy to wear, full of print, pattern, color, volume and gives the feeling of exuding texture without actually having much. More that this, it feels like being swaddled in a blanket and is usually made out of polyester that doesn’t really wrinkle. Mumus also travel well! They are my go-to garment for long haul flights – mainly because I can curl up in a ball and get as unladylike as I want without being too indecent.
As much as a I love mumus, they can be tricky. I’m a small girl – only 5’2 – and it’s easy to drown in all that fabric with such a frame. Belting is vital, platform heels are helpful and accessorizing with lots of bulky bling makes the mumu really come to life. I try to stay away from cotton ones or super boxy shapes. The front-zip polyester mumus are my favorite despite the fact that they do truly seem like a nightgown. And as much as I love them, caftan shapes only really look good if you are tall, thin and a supermodel.
A lot of people have asked me why Modern Mumu for my project’s name? My first answer is I like the challenge. It is my responsibility to get that bad taste out of people’s mouths, redefine what the mumu means and aesthetically represent it in a sartorial manner. Secondly, it’s a juxtaposition and pairs two things together that shouldn’t be aligned. And I definitely don’t like to do what’s expected.
So please take a wander to the Story section and read about my journey in giving Modern Mumu life.