Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia

Follow Us

Asia travel and leisure guides for hotels, food and drink, shopping, nightlife, and spas | Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia

Rangoon's Beautiful Boutique Craft Shop


Traditional Burmese craftsmanship and contemporary design are on display at this stylish spot in the country's most cosmopolitan city.

Published on Jul 12, 2017

 

THESE DAYS, EVERYBODY WANTS a piece of Burma. With more than 135 different ethnic groups, each with its own distinct culture and heritage, the country has no shortage of traditional souvenirs for visitors to take home, but not all crafts are created equal. An imitation lacquer box isn't going to wow the seasoned traveler, and how many wooden masks does the savvy tourist need? An addition to Rangoon's shopping scene, Hla Day caters to a more discerning clientele by combining traditional crafts with contemporary designs to create beautiful giftware, fashion and lifestyle products.

Hla Day
Look-good, feel-good souvenirs at Hla Day.

Housed in an airy colonial building on Pansodan Street, Hla Day—the phrase means "beautiful" in Burmese—is a treasure trove of colorful clothing and accessories, elegant homeware and woven textiles, all handmade by Burmese artisans. A commitment to the local community is an extension of Hla Day's overall vision of sustainability. Their wares are created using locally sourced or recycled materials and they work with around 35 producers from disadvantaged backgrounds, providing a vital source of income.

"Many of our producers can't read or write, but they create these beautiful crafts and textiles," the shop's co-founder Ulla Kroeber says. "We show them how to use traditional products in contemporary ways, to create something totally new, so that they can earn money and our customers can enjoy unique, quality products." The system is rigged so that every purchase has a positive impact on the local community, and the customer's home décor.

 

Hla Day
This quirky recycled soda-tab bracelet was designed by a group of disabled women who produce accessories with everything from bicycle inner tubes to cans.

 

Courtesy of Hla Day.
Hla Day's color-pop papier-mâché animals are reviving the local art, and are a hit with adults and children alike.

 

Courtesy of Hla Day.
The store's collection of jewelry is custom-designed by the UK's 2015 Ethical Jeweler of the Year, Pippa Small—a favorite among celebrities such as Nicole Kidman and Kate Middleton. Created by non-profit organization Turquoise Mountain, in partnership with the Suu Foundation, each piece is crafted by Burmese master goldsmiths using ethically sourced gold and semiprecious stones from Burma's Mogok Valley, funneling more jobs to the region.

 

Courtesy of Hla Day.
These hand-woven textiles are produced by minority Chin women living in Burma's Rakhine State. The intricate silk and cotton weavings, which range in price from US$90 to $450, make for sophisticated home décor.

 

Courtesy of Hla Day.
Whimsical children's toys are handmade by women living with HIV, as part of a program by local NGO Action for the Public, which provides them with training and income.

 

Photos courtesy of Hla Day.

 

 

See All Articles...

Courtesy of Hla Day.
Related Articles