In The Mediocre Monster, Sean Suen continues his exploration of the human psyche and turns an unflinching eye on society’s stereotypes. At the core of his work of the season, a question as old as humanity itself: what is “normal”?
Why is the monster mediocre? Does it live within each of us?
If you go with the traditional sense, mediocrity and monsters are usually antonyms, because monsters are out of the ordinary, and mediocrity is what is most banal and ordinary.
Each individual has misshapen corners within themselves, some part that does not quite match up to everyone else’s. But if you ask yourself what is normal and what is not, you must also question if monsters are inherently abnormal. The very act of questioning this is the first step towards casting down stereotypes and breaking down the shackles of normality.
Once you start realizing that there is no fixed definition of normality, you also start to see that you have to move forward without fear. That ability to see things without judging them or fearing them based on whether or not they fit the narrow definition of “normal” is especially precious.
In the end, it all comes down to one thing: the idea that there is no fundamental difference between correct ideas and dissenting ones. Those distinctions are artificial and come from one thing: societal ideals that were built over time and that must be broken down.
What I wanted to do this season was explore how we can actually find unity through these contradictions.
We have spent most of 2020 confronted with ourselves, many of us alone in big cities. Do you feel this is why societal ideals are eroding?
An ideal is always a manifestation of a person at a specific stage of their life and corresponds to a level of contentment. Societal ideals stem from the idea that we are in a constant cycle of initiation and improvement, but with outside criteria. What this period alone with ourselves brought us was the time to better explore and understand ourselves, which then allowed us to reflect upon who we are and improve our true selves, not some society generated image. To a certain extent, I feel that 2020 allowed this process to happen, and by extent, will help build better social ideals.
Given the circumstances, I had a lot of time to ponder, reflect and iterate, in continuation of last season. Right now, I feel I have established a deeper connection with myself, which has allowed me to explore who I am, physically and spiritually.
Season after season, you question how an individual is constructed, and the role of the exterior. How does fashion accompany this journey?
In my opinion, people are complicated, comprising of different facets and emotions. Every season we try to explore the various dimensions of SEAN SUEN’s fashion image, and constantly improve SEAN SUEN’s ideologies, aesthetics and attitude in the context of fashion.
Throughout the pandemic, the question of sustainable living, in fashion but also for our human societies, has come to the forefront. Have we awoken collectively to the questions you raised in Dionysian, about our interconnection and the need to slow down?
The pandemic has changed the trajectory of our lives and the way we live, at very fundamental levels. Throughout the course of the epidemic, we began to gradually think about what is important. Can we slow things down? Should we consume less material in our lives? How do we interact with people around us and influence them?
And inevitably, although the outside world felt absent, there was a subtle, infinite transformation that happened within each person. This inevitably led to more connections between individuals.
Do you have a wish for the future?
May we all live in freedom and peace.