Design & craft shopping in Myanmar

Posted on April 13, 2017 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

inle heritage shop

Inle heritage shop, Inle Lake

 

When I was in Myanmar, I was genuinely surprised by its diverse craft industry. Aside from traditional crafts, we were quite delighted to have come across some contemporary craft/design brands as well. My favourite shop of the trip was an accidental find in Inle Lake... We had hired a boat and helmsman for the day, and he kept taking us to the touristy factories despite us asking him not to. Luckily, the beautiful architecture of Inle heritage captured my attention and so we demanded him to stop and let us explore; and we eventually spent hours there because of its tranquil and relaxing setting.

 

inle heritage

inle heritage shop

inle heritage

Inle heritage

Inle Heritage's architecture, restaurant and U Saung’s room

 

While we were there, we found out that Inle Heritage is a not-for-profit organisation that preserves the cultural and natural wealth of the Inle region. Built from reclaimed wood and modelled on the former home of Inle Heritage’s founder, Inthar Heritage House contains a traditional restaurant, an area that hosts exhibitions of local artists’ works, recreation of U Saung’s room, a gift shop, and a cat village. The compound also houses a boutique hotel comprises six bungalows, a vocational centre, and an organic garden.

 

inle heritage shop

inle heritage shop

inle heritage shop  inle heritage shop

 

The gift shop sells many wonderful and well-curated locally made products, souvenir and fashion. The revenue from the shop is split between the craft producer and funding Inle Heritage’s work. Although the products here are more expensive than the ones on sale at the markets, the quality is higher and more unique.

 

inle lake market

inle lake market  burmese textiles

A souvenir and food market in Inle lake

 

In Yangon, there are two shops that also focus on locally made crafts and designs: Hla Day and Pomelo. Hla Day (1st Floor, 81 Pansodan Street) is a social enterprise that works with 40 producer groups including Myanmar artisans, disadvantaged groups and small local businesses to design, develop and sell quality handmade products. Every product is sourced and made locally and using local materials. Sustainability and supporting the local communities is important the organisation's ethos.

 

hla days   hla days

hla days

hla days

hla days

Hla Day

 

Pomelo89 Thein Phyu Street) is another fair trade shop that offers quality and contemporary hand-made products. They work with local disadvantaged groups to produce and sell designed crafts in order to support their families and scale up their businesses.

 

pomelo yangon

pomelo yangon  pomelo yangon

pomelo yangon

pomelo

Pomelo shop

 

Another good place to buy locally made crafts and products is the Bogyoke Aung San Market. With more than 2000 shops, it is best to do a bit of research and locate the shops you are interested in before heading there, otherwise, it is easy to get lost in the maze-like market.

 

Bogyoke Aung San Market

Bogyoke Aung San Market

Bogyoke Aung San Market

Bogyoke Aung San Market

Bogyoke Aung San Market   Bogyoke Aung San Market

mooneymoon

Bogyoke Aung San Market

 

If you are coffee drinker, then make sure you drop by the Mooney Moon coffee shop (Rm-210, West Wing) in between your shopping. The coffee is very good here, and you can even buy some beans to bring back home. Alternatively, there is a quieter and friendly shop upstairs called Coffee Melody that offers good organic coffee as well.

 

Yangoods

Yangoods

Yangoods

Yangoods

 

Yangoods (No.89 Front wing) is an accessories and souvenir brand known for its nostalgic sepia portraits and images of old Burma. Their style somewhat reminds me of vintage Bollywood posters. At the shop, you can find stationery, clocks, bags and home furnishings etc, but the prices here are higher than other local souvenir shops. The shop also has two other shop locations that can be found on their website.

 

yo ya may

yo ya may

dsc_0424_2-min

ya ya ma  chin chili

chin chili

Yo Ya May & Chin Chili

 

On the first floor of the market (facing the main road), there are two Ethnographic textiles shops that specialise in traditional chin textiles. Yo Ya May (1st fl, front block, Bogyoke Aung San Market) is a wonderful shop that sells colourful woven cushion covers, wall hangings, purses, and bags etc. The prices are reasonable and the staff are friendly. Further down is a smaller shop called Chin Chili, which sells similar products.

Dacco (13/F, Upper Front) is another traditional handicraft shop that sells high quality handmade products like plastic baskets, textiles, jewellery, sandals, candles and clothing. The shop also has a flagship store at Room 5, No.12 Parami Road, 10 Quarter, Mayangone Township.

 

img_1498-min

img_1499-min

Japanese-designed wooden crafts that are made in Myanmar

 

Interestingly, there is a shop on the 1st floor that sells crafted wood designs that are similar to the products that we sell from Japan. It turns out that these products are produced by a non-profit Japanese organisation called Asia Crafts link. All their products are designed in Japan but made in Myanmar using local materials, craftsmen and skills. The products are much cheaper than the Japanese made ones (I am being honest here) without compromising on the quality, hence I couldn't resist making some items here.

 

river gallery

river gallery

river gallery  river gallery

Art works and products by contemporary artists from Myanmar are on sale at River Gallery (Chindwin Chambers, 33/35, 37th and 38th Street)

 

burmese coffee  burmese souvenir

burmese souvenir

burmese souvenir  burmese souvenir

burmese souvenir

burmese souvenir  burmese basket

burmese silver jewellery  burmese souvenir

Souvenir from Myanmar

 

Other interesting shops and brands in Myanmar:

Amazing Grace (26/A Maggin St, Corner of Min Ye Kyaw Swar St., Ward 14, Yangon) - a local social enterprise making handmade jewellery and other fashion accessories using environmentally sustainable and ethical methods.

Helping Hands (92b Ngar Htat Gyi Pagoda St, Yangon) - a social business restoring old, Burmese, teak furniture. Employing over 50 people, skilled artisans work along side ex-street children, training them in the art and skill of furniture restoration.

Paloma Ya Ya - an ethical clothing brand inspired by Myanmar and its neighbouring countries. All items are made with handwoven fabrics and natural fibres in Myanmar.

 

 


This post was posted in Stationery, Shopping, Shopping guide, Travel, Contemporary craft, Design, Myanmar, Burmese design and was tagged with shopping, contemporary crafts, Shopping guide, Myanmar, Burmese craft, textiles, Burmese designs, Yangon

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