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AirAsia Runway Ready Designer Search 2017: Myanmar Auditions

By Irvin Hanni

AirAsia Runway Ready Designer Search 2017: Myanmar Auditions

Can the ‘Golden Land’ produce Southeast Asia’s next top designer? The AirAsia Runway Ready Designer Search 2017 was in Myanmar to find out.

Now on its third year, AirAsia Runway Ready Designer Search (AARRDS) has expanded its 2017 audition rounds to all 10 ASEAN countries. After the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam, the sixth audition was held on 27 May in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon.

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Back at the helm to lead the judging team was Andrew Tan (Founder of KL Fashion Week Ready to Wear), joined by Wai Lin Aung (AirAsia Station Head for Myanmar), Veen Dee Tan (Head of Marketing for FashionValet), Ko Tatee (Senior Designer and Principal Lecturer of Tatee Design School), and Ahlatt Lumyang (Fashion Designer) for a whole day review and selection of the country’s most promising fashion designers.

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The judges for the AARRDS 2017 Myanmar auditions (left to right): Wai Lin Aung, Veen Dee Tan, Andrew Tan, Ahlatt Lumyang , and Ko Tatee.

Like the insightful Vietnam auditions, the same process flow was applied here as well. Each contestant had a chance to present their design to the panel of judges on Round 1, after which the field was narrowed down to the top eight contestants. In Round 2, more queries about the practical aspects of the collection, such as target market and pricing, come into play. And after a final round of discussion and point tabulations, two fashion hopefuls were chosen to represent Myanmar at the Grand Finale of AARRDS 2017 in Kuala Lumpur this August.

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For 25-year old Mg David Phoo, the Radhar Fashion & Design School in Yangon has groomed him well. Whilst his mood board featuring the bold colours and playful pom poms that are traditional to Myanmar’s Lisu tribe was compelling enough, it was his sleek and neat modern ready-to-wear design that ultimately wowed the judges. Currently working as a tailor in his hometown Myitkina, David took an 8-hour bus journey for this audition in Yangon, an effort that was certainly paid off.

Meanwhile for Yin Thuzar Aung, finding out about the competition via the Instagram of one of the judges, Ahlatt Lumyang, may have seemed like a chance encounter, yet it’s definitely a step towards the right direction. The 23-year-old graduate in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore cited Alexander Wang, who is known for his innovative yet commercial designs, as her role model. If her flare-rich collection inspired by the Kayan long neck tribe is anything to go by, Yin’s path in fashion looks as promising as her favourite designer’s.

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Both finalists stand a chance to win 150,000 AirAsia BIG Points; MYR 25,000 (approximately USD 5,800) to produce a capsule collection to be sold on fashionvalet.com; a six-page fashion spread in AirAsia’s in-flight magazine, travel 3Sixty°; AirAsia flights and mentorship from the KLFW RTW, as well as a confirmed slot to showcase their full collection in KL Fashion Week RTW 2018.

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The top two finalists from AARRDS 2017 Myanmar auditions: Mg David Phoo and Yin Thuzar Aung.

Think you got what it takes to be Southeast Asia’s next top fashion designer? The last audition for 2017 will be held in Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh on 17 June. To participate, download the registration form, and email your submission to aarrds2017@klfashionweek.com.

For more info, visit the AARRDS 2017 website or you can also check out AirAsia’s YouTube for webisodes featuring the journey of all participants for the Asean-wide AirAsia Runway Ready Designer Search 2017.

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GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies direct to Yangon from Kuala Lumpur. For lowest fares and flight info, visit airasia.com.

About the Author

Irvin Hanni

She is happiest when cycling in a foreign destination, rubbing noses with a cat, or napping by a lake. Her goal is to touch every owl, monkey, puppy, tiger, and turtle that she meets on her travels.

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