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Designers put ethical twist on local fashion

With Myanmar emerging as a manufacturing hub for mass-produced clothes, a crop of young designers are using home-grown fashion to preserve the country's sartorial heritage and reshape the sweatshop model.

Inside her boutique in downtown Yangon, Pyone Thet Thet Kyaw crafts her own designs using traditional patterns and fabrics, many from ethnic minority groups, to make A-line skirts, dresses and tops.

On another she adds the high-collared neckline of the inngyi - a tight top usually worn by Myanmar women along with a fitted, sarong-like skirt - to a flirty pleated dress.

"We Burmese really care about our own ethnic and traditional clothes," she said in the shop, over the whir of ­sewing machines.

"When you modernize the traditional patterned clothes you have to be careful they're not too flashy - or too ­modern."

Myanmar is fiercely proud of its traditional garb, which was largely protected from the influx of homogenous Western fashion now ubiquitous across Southeast Asia by the former military junta.

For 50 years they shut the country off to foreign influences and tightly controlled what was worn in all official media.

Designer Ma Pont said she was not allowed to show even a flash of shoulder or armpit when she used to make clothes for military-controlled TV channels in the 1990s.

"We were not really free," she said.

Impoverished but emerging Myanmar is swiftly becoming a new hub for massive garment factories making cheap clothes as quickly as possible for fashion giants like H&M and Primark.

Exports more than doubled to $1.65 billion last financial year, according to official data, and are expected to surge after the US ended sanctions in October.

But while the sector is helping to drive rapid economic growth, critics say few benefits are trickling down to workers who earn some of the lowest wages in Asia.

A report by multinational watchdog SOMO warned of "significant risks of labor rights violations being committed in Myanmar's garment industry that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency."

Other local designers, like Mo Hom, are working to save Myanmar's centuries-old traditional fabric industry from the influx of cheap imported clothes from Thailand and China.

Her boutique in Yangon is filled with colorful designs in cotton and silks sourced from Chin and Shan states, where they can take months to weave by hand using traditional wooden looms.

Many are dyed with natural substances like green tea to give subtle colors, which she mixes with traditional ethnic patterns and silhouettes.

"Local mills are actually dying because there is no market demand anymore," said Mo Hom, who trained and worked as a designer in New York before moving back to Myanmar in 2012.

"A lot of the mills are actually closing down."Read more at:short formal dresses | formal dress shops

05:17 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Canterbury designers tight-lipped on WOW garments

Tatyanna Meharry and Natasha English with their last year's entry
(Photo:formal dresses melbourne)

Of the 121 designers from 14 different countries, six tight-lipped Canterbury designers have been selected to compete for this year's World of Wearable Art (WOW) awards.

Now in its 29th year, the international design competition and New Zealand's largest annual theatrical production attracts around 60,000 fashion enthusiasts to Wellington each year.

WOW finalists, Christchurch designers and sisters Natasha English and Tatyanna Meharry, look ahead to their fifth finalist garment entry since 2013 taking the stage next month. Their garment, in the open category, makes a statement about the "ugly" state of New Zealand's mental health issues.

"The costume is about issues to do with mental health and just trying to look at it from a different angle, the politics of drugs and prescriptions and medication, and the effects which don't affect only the person, but their entire family," Meharry said.

"We take it seriously that it's a wearable art, but we have to provoke the audience. It just can't be stuff stuck together because it looks pretty. Sometimes it's ugly."

From an artistic family, the sisters won the Supreme Award in their first year working as a team in 2013 and have just returned from their two-week internship at Weta Workshop in Wellington in the costume department.

"We both knew how to sew by the time we were five. We were encouraged to be creative. We're pretty lucky," said Meharry.

WOW finalist, Christchurch designer Janice Elliott, was secretive about her finalist garment in the illumination illusion category, which was her 14th finalist entry in 11 years.

Elliott said it was a fantastic experience being a part of the shows.

"People think it's just a few fashion garments but it's not, it's all the theatrical stuff too. It's just mind-blowing," she said.

"You come out of there thinking 'Wow, that's amazing'."

She said the shows had changed over the years since her first show in 2006.

"Even to just get in now, it's hard. But I managed to scrape in and get to go and have a look.

"You get hooked in. You get addicted. Now I'm thinking I've got an idea for next year. I always end up doing it again."

Canterbury designers Naomi Flasher, Tina Hutchison-Thomas and Loretta Sloan will join English, Meharry and Elliott in Wellington for the WOW awards show from September 21 to October 8.Read more at:formal dresses adelaide

04:59 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Stressing careers in technology for women now in Vogue

Cuberider’s Solange Cunin with 
Vogue Australia editor-in-chief Edwina McCann. Picture: John Feder
(Photo:formal dresses)

Technology and women’s luxury fashion feels like an odd mix but Edwina McCann is determined to ensure that doesn’t last.

The editor-in-chief of Vogue Australia, like every glossy magazine editor, has long grappled with how to engage corporate women with her title — after all, they are the ones who can afford the luxury fashions her magazine so ­lavishly showcases.

Events and summits have come and gone but none has met the satisfaction of McCann.

“My issue is that they never ­really had a purpose — we weren’t trying to solve a problem,” she says. “The problem is getting women into the tech sectors.”

Thus last year Vogue Codes was born, a modest summit for corporate women aimed at ­addressing the many systemic blockages preventing women from embarking on a career in technology.

This year the summit, which ran on Friday in Sydney’s Barangaroo, a new business area named after the “feisty” wife of Bennelong, was aimed at corporate women, while at the weekend it joined consumer event Vogue Codes Live and Vogue Codes Kids, run with the Code Club and aimed at primary school children keen to learn coding basics.

And Vogue Codes will take ­itself to Melbourne with Vogue Codes Live and two breakfasts. “Last year we had 200 people; this year we will have over 2000 ­people go through a Vogue Codes event,” McCann says.

In its debut year, Westpac and HP sponsored the event. This year Telstra and BMW have come on board. “This is a cause-driven issue. At every level there seems to be sexism ­apparent and some of it is women to women; our attitudes need to change.

“We have to accept as mothers and women in management that we have to accept some responsibility as well. We are not encouraging enough women in work and in our homes to seek opportunities in this sector.”

At 24, Solange Cunin, chief executive and founder of Cuberider, is a success in her chosen ­industry but keenly feels the need for Vogue Codes. In December her company made history when a Japanese rocket sent ­Australia’s first payload to the International Space Station, carrying a small ­integrated sensor containing the ­experiments of more than 1000 high school students, part of Cuberider’s science education courses.

“I went against the tide to study science and maths, and I came from the country and there weren’t many mentors,” Cunin says. “I had to do it with a handful of supportive teachers at my school. Going to study engineering was not the norm.

“The whole Vogue Codes project really matches what we do anyway in teaching children coding. Being an entrepreneur can be quite lonely. That is the same for being a chick in tech; there aren’t many of us, so often you don’t get to be in the same room.”

In recent years many luxury women’s magazines have broadened their priorities. Thus rival ­titles such as InStyle laud the achievements of corporate leaders and scientists in their annual Women of Style awards, recognising that fashion and beauty prizes are simply no longer enough.

McCann says Conde Nast, the global publishing giant that ­licenses Vogue locally to News Corporation Australia, publisher of The Australian, has requested several briefings about Vogue Codes.

“It could very much ­become a pillar of the Vogue brand internationally,” she says.Read more at:formal dresses sydney

03:53 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)