Research focus on handweaving does not mean a neglection of the current developments in the use of textiles. Thus here is an example how Myanmar entrepreneurs create new products with existing fabrics.
I think Soe Maung Aungs shoes are an interesting case for understanding how a variety of relations are negotiated, in a very simplified version these are relevant elements:
A) Keeping together past and present: Using known patterns as a means to present and continue the traditional/culturally known
B) Ethnicity: Taking up different ethnic group ascribed designs, allowing for identification and a broad representation
C) Adapting the material to a new context: ballerina shoes
D) Economic participation: Creating a connection to the international market, where ballerinas are a standard shoe form, thus targeting expats and travellers as well
E) At the same time presenting an innovative model for the local shoe consumption (usually flip flops and their more fancy version Ka Lee Ba as well as shoe imports from abroad).
Concerned how to give back to the community I will use this post also to share the contact information with you.
Different designs and sizes are always available. And the economic strategy also includes a customization service: bring the fabric you like and the shoes are made in 2-3 weeks! Can’t get any more special I think.
Find the nice team around entrepreneur Soe Maung Aung at the Bogyoke Market. When standing in front of it it is the first inner-row building from the left, outer row quite in the back.
Don’t hesitate to show the pictures on the phone to someone at the market, they will help you find it!