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!
This gallery is one of my favorite places in Yangon! Where else to find a jewel like this Acheik silk fabric in all natural dye?! This is the most beautiful and artful piece I have found so far!
The owner Daw Phyu Ei Thein is not just doing a fantastic job in running this textile gallery with fabrics and products of high quality from all areas of Myanmar – she also follows the concept of a social enterprise. Her aim is the promotion of sustainability at all stages of the production – e.g. by using natural dyes and paying a stable salary to the weavers she works with – in contrast to the usual wage per piece.
And on top she is a super lovely and knowledgeable person! I would like to give back some of her support in connecting me with others in my particular research area in this form.
You can find the Gallery at:
Shangone St (near the junction Dhammazedi & U Wisara)
No.54, 1st floor
The former capital remains the capital of trade. All threads run together here. So in the past days I visited several places to understand more about the Macrosphere in which my topic is embedded. My teacher of textile analysis from Switzerland is here for a few weeks at the moment so I had the chance of coming along to the weaving workshop that she supports in creating the teaching curriculum and designs. The workshop is specialized in producing fabrics and products for everyday use, like pillow cases, bags and the like. It is beautiful to see how new designs are created here and products developed that you cannot find elsewhere – e.g. mobile phone cases with an integrated business card holder as in Myanmar the exchange of business cards definitely is a thing.
They have a showroom downtown, if you would like to visit let me know and I will pass on the contact details.