Originally known as Phyo Thura Soe, Phyo Ko, 33, changed his name when he started working in the fashion industry in 2011 as a sketch designer at a clothing company.

After a one-month basic course with designer Pyi Soe Aung he later started started making dresses for several fashion shows and hasn’t looked back since. “I became confident enough to make clothes and started designing. I think I have a gift,” he said.

He attended Kalawin International Fashion School in Bangkok in early 2015.

“People asked me, why do you want to go there? I know I had a lot of experience, but I still thought I needed to learn more if I wanted to move forward. My passion for fashion just kept growing.”

“I learned haute couture and moulage fashion in Kalawin. All are high fashion. I learned a lot about creating patterns and cutting. Now I can do so much more, and I’ve got more self-confidence too,” he added.

Phyo Ko, who describes his designs as “classy”, is inspired by modern fashions and internationally recognised designers like Jean Paul Gaultier, Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad.

“I’m seeing a lot of modern designs and creativity from local designers right now. People are starting to develop their own tastes and styles and understand modern fashion – not just designers but young people too,” he said.

Sadly not all of his clients are so fashion forward.

“In Myanmar we can’t always create what we want. It’s not like in other countries where the designer can create their own designs – we have to comply with our customers’ requests,” Phyo Ko said.

But when it comes to womenswear, the designer does have some advice for women who want to dress to impress.

“The important thing is to choose what is best for you and your body. Though in the end the best thing you can do is to be yourself and don’t try to be anyone else,” he said.

Now he plans to open his first boutique, Phyo Ko Extraordinary Fashion. “I’ve spent the last month searching for staff and creating new dresses for the magazine cover shoot,” he said, adding that he plans to open in December, but is already accepting customers.

The focus is on high fashion. “I love the classy look. I can combine Myanmar traditional dress with Western high style. But I like all fashions, and anything new and creative.”

Fabric choice is very important. “I care about the details in every one of my creations. Some customers don’t understand that fabric choice should be based on design. I know this from experience. I really take care when I have to use silk. Most Myanmar women want silk, especially for traditional dress. But silk wrinkles so easily if you don’t sew carefully.”

His own dress sense tends to the casual. “I like to wear free and comfortable styles, but if I have to attend a special occasion, I choose my outfit with care.”

These days, people care more about fashion. “You see a lot of young people on the street – they care about having their own style. That’s the kind of improvement we need. In the past, other countries used to look down on Myanmar from the style point of view. Not anymore. They are amazed at our development,” he said, adding that his new boutique will also house fashion design courses to inspire budding designers.

Long a maker of womenwear, he then learned to make men’s wear. “Now I’m just starting my business and I don’t want to take on anything I can’t handle. I will focus on womenswear first.”

In the future, he wants to do fabric design as well. “Now it’s just a dream. It will take time.”Read more at:formal dresses | formal dresses brisbane