Myanmar awake, and cast off your fashion chains. The advice comes from Kukso Koo, the Milan-based Korean designer who has just completed a week-long workshop at Yangon’s Jasmine Palace Hotel. The workshop was organised by the Justice Art Fashion Illustration School to put local designers in touch with the international fashion industry.

Designer and couturier Kukso Koo has advised such brands as Prada, Lawrence Steel and Roberto Cavalli, and worked as an instructor in many fashion design schools. He owns his own brand, KUKSO KOO. The August 1-5 workshop was his first visit to Myanmar.

Kukso Koo (left) speaks to students at his Haute Couture Design and Draping workshop in Yangon. Photo: Nyan Zay Htet / The Myanmar Times (Photo:short formal dresses)

“I became a designer so that I could devote my life to making garments to enhance the beauty of the human form,” he said.

He came at the invitation of Z Htoi San, the professional fashion illustrator who founded Justice Art. “Mr Z admires and appreciates my work, and I appreciate his work too. He invited me to come and teach and to share my experience with Myanmar fashion designers, which I am happy and excited to do.

His course was entitled “Haute Couture Design and Draping”. “My specialty is haute couture dressmaking, and Mr Z asked me to teach that subject,” he said. “It was a great opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with the students. I can help the Myanmar fashion industry be more international, more sophisticated and more enriched,” he added.

He also taught the skills of conceiving a haute couture collection, haute couture dressmaking techniques and collection development.

(Photo:formal dresses online)

“I’m here to help them develop their own approach to fashion design,” he said. In the workshop, he demonstrated his technique of creating patterns by reference to the creations in his celebrated collection, as well as the arts of fabric selection and generating design concepts.

“I believe the Myanmar fashion industry should be more open to the international market. I want to help designers reach international standards,” he said.

“People here should be more open to international fashion developments. I recognise change does not come easily. Political, economic and religious elements are all involved in the question of the development of the Myanmar fashion industry. We need to awaken our consciousness because Buddha teaches this. Awakening the consciousness will bring a better life in the future,” he said.

“The fashion industry here is still very narrow. I’ve suggested that designers travel more widely. If you don’t see these things for yourself and work only with imagination, it’s not easy to change. But if you absorb more international influences and communicate more with different countries, cultures and people, you become capable of more original creation,” he said.

“I like to see Myanmar people wearing traditional costume. On the other hand, attachment to local styles means that you might be missing out on a more modern look. I know it’s not easy to combine these things. I hope the new generation understands the situation and can create more possibilities to wear clothes in a better way,” he said.

“Before I went to Bogyoke Market, I’d only ever seen traditional acheik fabric in pictures. I’m always interested in making costumes with traditional fabric from other cultures because I mix different cultures in my creations,” he said.