Playful, cool, fun, witty, cute with an edge streetwear. Playful, not excessive. Cool, not icy. Cute, but mean. Most of the MØPSI brand‘s visual elements and art direction have been influenced by founder Kai-Li Ma‘s 90s upbringing, as well as by her personal taste and style. MØPSI is basically Ma reincarnated as a little unipig. Temper Magazine calls on this German-Chinese creative centipede for a little chit chat and shares the hate. Verdammt ich lieb dich.
Beats by Dre, shoots with Chen Man and a lil’ Diesel style set against the backdrop of that stunningly tall Shanghai Skyline — since 2014. Straight outta Hamburg she hails: Model, TV personality, certified yoga teacher and now designer Kai-Li Ma. Ma never did have a whole lotta of love for humans. She considered them a strange species and one hard to understand, at that. Humans frustrated her and made things difficult. Even as a little Leia buns booting Schwein she’d yell “I hate humans!” as she smashed her 90s GameBoy on the floor, upset at whoever had dared “create” Tetris level 12.
Fast forward 25 years and together we strap on that “when pigs fly!” 2018 fanny pack and get on that streetstyled soapbox. Without any further ado…
Time to dish out the Marching orders!
Socks, Slogans And Headbands
Temper: Socks, slogans and headbands. We see MØPSI, we see quirky edge. We see Kai-Li, we see 100 percent non-Kardashian ultracool. What do you see?
Ma: Quite literally I see how my once upon a time childhood nickname has now become the name of my brand with the unipig which I drew as a tattoo outline a few years ago, now the logo of my brand. This MØPSI brand is highly personal to me; I have poured my all into it and it is an integral part of me. My favorite animal and my favorite clothing pieces are now sitting in front of me, it’s just crazy — and really is a dream come true. I have always dreamed of kick starting my own clothing brand, always wondering what it would look like and…. Tadaaa! Here we are!
Take the Pig Pocket T-shirt. It might look like a standard white Tee to most, but I did in fact create it from scratch. I chose the fabric and exact weight of the preshrunk cotton, the type of collar, the stitching on the sleeves, the pocket sizing, etc. Zee design n*zi, ja?! HA
You’re In The Army Now
Temper: Given we too signed up for the newsletter… Who else is in the MØPSI Army now?
Ma: Our MØPSI Army ranges from heavy metal musicians to anime lovers to the millennial streetwear enthusiast to that hard-editing creative director and the occasional Kai-Li supporter. [insert wink] It can be anyone who identifies with the message of “human hating”, loves MØPSI the unipig because it looks cute or those people who just love the products because of their design. I love the fact that MØPSI currently boasts a larger male than female following and the sheer fact that the boys are confident enough to rock a unipig-emblazoned piece. All in all, the MØPSI Army forges a collective of confident, strong, cool, fun individuals.
Temper: What is the MØPSI design and brand philosophy — in three sentences. Go!
Ma: Alright, in three bullet points, we shall do this:
- When it comes to the products: I like to keep it clean with much attention paid to detail;
- When it comes to the brand image: I try to stay authentic and bring my personality into MØPSI
- When it comes to the philosophy: I only create items that I personally love and would wear myself.
I am admittedly quite German when it comes to design — zee design n*zi ja?! HA! I want everything to look and feel (in every sense of the word) a very specific way. Take the Pig Pocket T-shirt, for example. This piece might look like a standard white Tee to most, but I actually did create it from scratch. I chose the fabric and exact weight of the cotton, the type of collar, the stitching pattern on the sleeves, the pocket sizing, i.e. the exact fit to make it that exactly right perfect T-shirt in my opinion. Needless to say, there is a lot of back and forth (samples-wise) until I get what I want. [insert muahahahaaaa evil grin]
I have purposely opted for a unisex collection. I have always worn both mens- and womenswear and I believe that, especially in streetwear, there is no line between what defines men’s versus women’s clothing.
Skaters And Haters
Temper: What is the ultimate unipig outfit?
Ma: The ultimate outfit would include wearing MØPSI from head to toe HA. Put on the dungarees, the cap, the shirt, the socks and voilà! You have become a true unipig — yes, I do do this sometimes [insert wink].
Temper: Do you have a preference for any artistic era in time, artists, urban environments?
Ma: The 90s. By far. I m just a little N.W.A. and still listen to Biggie like he just came out yesterday. I love overalls and have been wearing overalls my whole life. The artistic era for 90s kids and teenagers involved doodling in you notebook, doing small sketches and cut-out collages, all of which I have integrated into MØPSI. Sub-street cultures such as skating, graffiti, anything hip hop related (music, dance, fashion), now those were my steeeeez!
There’s a huge sense of individuality showing across the streets of first-tier China now compared to three years ago. I actually love the Chinese millennial street style which is a mix of streetwear and punk meshed with an ugly pretty style.
Temper: How have you seen people’s individuality and style in China evolve since your Shanghai-touchdown in 2014?
Ma: I can definitely see that over the last few years, people across China’s first- and second-tier (third, even) cities have become more confident and open when it comes fashion. I actually love the Chinese millennial street style which is a mix of streetwear and punk meshed with an ugly pretty style. These guys have now developed their own mix and match, pulling it from whatever outside-influence they can get.
There’s definitely a huge sense of individuality now compared to three years ago when I first got here. Being different used to be a lot harder in China given this wasn’t as accepted, but nowadays the Chinese are becoming increasingly adventurous in their style-ways and manners of self-expression.
I believe there are no fashion NONOs. Just personal NONOs. The fanny pack is always a good accessory because not only is it practical, it just looks supah kool.
Packing UniPig Style
Temper: What’s your deal with accessories? What do accessories mean for an outfit? What’s your biggest accessorizing NONO?
Ma: I personally like to have only one or two pieces of key accessories. I’m not into the Christmas tree look; over-accessorizing is just not for me. [Here at Temper we admittedly do at times rock that Christmas boat/ Thanksgiving float]
I believe there is no such thing as a fashion NONO anymore. Just personal NONOs.
The MØPSI cap is always one of my go-to accessories because it can give any outfit a bit more flair and you can basically wear it with anything.
The fanny pack too is always a good accessory not only because of its mere practicality, but also because it just looks supah kool. I like to have my hands free — to judo chop people in the neck ha — and the fanny pack features numerous little pockets so that small items are easy to find and quick to take out. Like my chapstick. And I sometimes just like to pet the bag because it’s so soft. That young, virgin, organically fed sheep skin is definitely the smoothest. It’s MØPSI.
“Kai-Li’s eyes transformed into hearts, pumping with love and admiration. A human hating unipig for human haters, MØPSI was perfect! Her tiny horn capable of stabbing humans, and wings to fly away! The two connected eyes just for a moment before Mopsi jumped, flipped, and flew off into the distance ready to spread her human hating message to the rest of the world.”
And they lived hatefully ever after.
All images come courtesy of Kai-Li Ma and MØPSI
Contact MØPSI via
Copyright@Temper Magazine, 2018. All rights reserved
After tackling Beijing for some six years where she worked for China International Publishing Group, she spent a moment in time moseying down steep alleyways and writing about their fashionable and underground features in Hong Kong.
Van Paridon most recently managed to claw her way through a Europe-based academic endeavor called "Journalism". 'Tis in such fashion that she has now turned her lust for China Fashion/ Lifestyle and Underground into a full time occupation.
Van Paridon hunts down the latest in Chinese menswear, women’s clothing, designer newbies, established names, changes in the nation’s street scenery, close-ups of particular trends presently at play or of historical socio-cultural value in Chinaplus a selection of budding photographers.
Paired with a deep devotion to China’s urban underground scene, van Paridon holds a particular interest in the topics of androgyny, the exploration of individuality and the power that is the Key Opinion Leader (the local term for “influencers”) in contemporary China.
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