No. 26(A), Min Ye Kyaw Swar St. (corner of Min Ye Kyaw Swar St. and Maggine St.) in Kyaukkone, Yankin Township
Pyone Thet Thet Kyaw Founder & Lead Designer
Naw Aye Aye Naing
We have a small but dedicated team who are passionate about fashion and design and contributing to social impacts in the communities.
Our designs span casual, smart casual, and formal or special occasion wear includig bridal wears.
Everything we make always incorporates high quality design, patterns, and tailoring. Fabrics and accessories are all made locally in Myanmar and wherever possible are sourced from fellow social enterprises wherever possible. Find out more about our partners below.
Virya Couture was founded by Pyone Thet Thet Kyaw who is also the lead designer. Pyone has been passionate about design and tailoring since an early age. As a young girl she was already in love with sewing and dress making, having learned the basics by sitting next to her grandmother as she worked on her Singer sewing machine. Pyone worked in garment factories in the mid 90s (before American sanctions were imposed on Burma) in Hlaing Tharyar, an industrial suburb of Yangon. She was working in the trade she loved but stuck on a production line repeating the same small task over and over again, in a hot and overcrowded working space earning barely enough to live on. Soon however she was beating her production targets which meant she had free time during her shifts that she used to go to talk to the other women workers about the conditions and how they could organise to improve them - this promptly got her fired.
No. 246, Nandawun 6th Quarter, On Mai Thauk Road, Nyaung Shwe, Southern Shan State.
May Thu Kyaw
Designer & Manager
Khing Than Wai
Mobile Phone: 09254301824
It was at this point that she persuaded her uncle to buy her a sewing machine of her own and, even though a little young to be launching a start-up, set up shop in front of her parents’ house making and fixing clothes for neighbours and friends and feeling the satisfaction of generating her own income for the first time in her life. At 15 she told her parents she didn’t need any more education that she was going to be a fashion designer and tailor and she already had the skills she needed. Her parents though told her uncle who gave her a serious telling off and, before she knew it, she was enrolling in the University in Yangon.
Later she won scholarships to study in the Philippines, Canada and then the UK where she received the Chevening Scholarship for her Masters Degree in International Development. She then returned to Myanmar to work for the UK’s aid programme, working on democracy, governance and human rights issues. But, satisfying as this work was, a part of her still held on to the dream she has had as a young girl to set up her own design label. So in October 2016 she launched her own social, ethical business, Virya Couture, employing a few other passionate women designers and tailors.
More on her story and her views on ethical fashion in Myanmar - published by Zhendegender here.