Burmese FashionMyanmar Fashion
One incision above the rest: The Burmese fashion artist Mo Hom is back from Soho.
The fashion design agency Mo Hom is the proprietor of Lotus Hom LLC, a subtranslation of her name in her Shan native tongue. After almost a ten-year career as a fashion design artist in New York, Mo Hom came back to Myanmar in December 2012. So what made you both go and then go back to Myanmar?
After that I went back to New York to start a Lotus Hom line and finished my shop in Soho in November 2012. In 2004 I decided to leave Myanmar to pursue my vision of becoming a fashion design professional, and New York seemed to me to be the best place to do it.
But I didn't think it was right for me, so I moved to the New York School of the School. In 2006 I got my degree in Textildesign - but before that I had already been given an opportunity to do an apprenticeship at a well-known fashionlabels.
Later on, my manager there asked me to become a designer and I was so thankful for two reasons: There was no interest in creating for the bulk markets and I wanted to know the A to D of manufacturing because I had long dreamt of managing my own company.
I' ve been managing my business here in Yangon for 18 years now. Myanmar does not have enough apparel to make and sell here and not in New York Fashion. Apparel made in Myanmar is almost always export - unless it's scrap - but even then the size is not right for the Myanmar population.
We are inundated with inferior clothing from China. Certainly there are some of Myanmar's top designer? Yes, they do exist - and they are very gifted - but their emphasis is more on tradition than on something with a westerly flair. It was my original intention to create fashion that uses handmade, traditionally handmade weaving machines but is for all.
As an example, I designed a garment that was on display at this year's ASEAN Expo in China, showing a Chinese handwoven technology that is usually used as a scarf with a conventional shan top on it: it is used as a dresscol. It is my aim to teach my employees in contemporary designs with the use of conventional methods.
Myanmar faces one of the major export challenge of traditionally made fabrics is the fact that the weaving looms are handled by people and not by machinery, which often leads to inaccuracies. What can be done to avoid this and make clothing that meets the requirements of the world? I' ve been told that some well-known japanes designer have been to Myanmar and have also purchased fabrics by the meter.
Are you using other types of textile technology? In Myanmar, there was a custom to colour clothing with fruits. All types of fruits can be used to colour fabrics - from avocadoes to straightberries. How does managing a company in Yangon compare to New York?
I' m running my enterprise like a charity but I pay my 15 employees and take them to the beaches - because some of my employees have never been to the beaches before. If you are new to the job or just want to study, I can recruit you.
I' ve also got two Shan worker who didn't say a single thing about Burmese at the beginning. They are taught in Burmese and they have learned many new techniques, such as button-making. This is how I think managing a company makes it more sustaining. However, I find it hard to find those who are really willing to work.
A number of inmates do very little because the pay is fix - that's how it's been all their life, but Myanmar's labor markets are shifting now. It' more costly, and I think Myanmar can do better. It is my hopes that the million US dollar of overseas investments that go into the Thilawa SEZ can be used in the near term to do something 110 per cent of which comes from Myanmar.
With Myanmar opening up to the outside hemisphere, many say that women's skirts are getting smaller and thinner. Burma is strongly affected by fashion from Korea and other neighboring nations - as well as MTV and celebrated Myanmar. It is possible to look very professionally in a lunggyi that could be less than the length of the leg - say knee-length - which is also ideal for seeing your boyfriends after work.
So I think the medias have a part in spreading the message about what is appropriate - as do prominent personalities, because young men and women do. What is appropriate in Myanmar can be different from elsewhere. I like a classical, yet trendy look, which is internationally, but not too enlightening.
One year after founding my company in Myanmar, I founded Mon Précieux because I felt the need for a locally based company with an internationally designed brand - I think I am the only one who does. I' m using the technological abilities I acquired during my six years of work for two enterprises in New York.
I just got back from Inle Lake, where I took a couple of pictures. This journey inspires me to begin screen print in the near distant past - it will be part of my fashion show at ths1 in October. I am also fascinated by the world of the wearer - I like to design clothing for small and large people.
Have you ever drawn a theme and hated it when you see it in it? Sometimes I do: that's why I draw and draft at the last moment. Before a show, I take measurements one weekend before the show so I know their precise size and make dresses that go with them.