Fashion, Mongolia’s Secret Weapon in International Trade


Mongolia is known for its mineral wealth. Indeed 59% of its exports are minerals, especially copper and most of this is exported to China. However there is another sector worth considering and that is fashion. There are over 20 million cashmere goats roaming the Mongolian plains and instead of the raw material being sent to and processed in China, there is a growing trend to produce at home.

The industry is a significant contributor to the Mongolian economy. According to the Mongolian Cashmere & Wool Association, cashmere exports bring in an average of around $250 million annually and provide employment for some 7000 people.

The global cashmere market is estimated to be between 15,000 and 20,000 metric tonnes. Luxury brands are selective in their sourcing, centering on Mongolia and Inner Mongolia (an autonomous region within China that borders Mongolia). There are over 100 million cashmere goats in Inner Mongolia but Mongolia has an advantage in quality as the Chinese goats are known for having shorter hairs, which means poorer quality.

Mongolia must also contend with Afghanistan, which currently accounts for around 7% of global production. Like Mongolia, Afghani cashmere is known for its quality and the government is actively supporting the industry. Nonetheless, ongoing instability in Afghanistan and concerns over its capacity to meet supply obligations will likely limit its ability to gain ground in the global cashmere market in the near to medium term

While Mongolia has a long history of exporting raw cashmere, the country is working to develop greater value-added processing capacity to maximise sector nolvadex cheap mastercard returns. Ultimately, the industry is looking to progressively scale back shipments of raw cashmere, with a view to essentially end unprocessed exports by 2020.

Mongolia has been able to progress with quality and the first Mongolia luxury clothing brand has emerged: Ariunna Suri. Founder and Chief Designer of the brand “Ariunna Suri” is a Mongolian designer whose passion is creating unique fashion for individuals. The brand was established in 2011. She worked as a Creative Designer in Berlin after completing studies and research in Bremen, a Northern German city.

For her Designs and Collections, she assimilates the Mongolian Nomadic style in a minimalistic Western fashion and reflects it by incorporating soft hues in organic fabrics such as wool, cashmere and leather from animals roaming the Mongolian steppes. Ariunna is well known in Japan and has exhibited at Tokyo Fashion week.

And it’s not just Ariunna Suri; Bayarmaa Bayarkhuu debuted at New York’s Fashion week in 2015. While paying homage to Mongolian roots, the collection also offers appeal to the contemporary consumer. Materials included fur, cashmere and specialty items from Mongolia, in silhouettes that ranged from floor-length dresses to pants and separates. Some of the most striking pieces in this collection were the vibrant coats.

In a further initiative, a group of Mongolian exporters of cashmere, wool and yak hair products came together and sold up to US$ 50,000 in goods after participating in the International Textile Fair in 2015 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, a trip supported by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Mongolia Cashmere and Wool Association.