Rediscovering Mongolia’s lost natural treasures

Ronnie Lamb International Cashmere Consultant Currently working for the ADB advising the GoM

Mongolia

Mongolian pastures North

To South

And East

To West

A Mongolian phenomena
 Are the home of the most unique natural fibres in the world

A Mongolian phenomena
 Are the home of the most unique natural fibres in the world  The climatic changes align with the Mongolian landscape and altitude changes to produce fibre types that are not only unique but region specific.

A Mongolian Phenomena

A Mongolian Phenomena
 The most intriguing and fascinating of these phenomenae comes from two soums, one in the East and the other in the West, both of which give a distinct pigment variation with red and blue casts on natural beige fibres that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world

 Photograph of all types

Lost Treasures of the Mongolian Nomads  The privatisation of Mongolian livestock to
the herders in the early 90’s and a lack of an enforceable government policy gradually resulted in the disappearance of these special types as herders neglected to pursue the guidelines that had been established under the Ministry of Agriculture for many years.

Lost Treasures of the Mongolian Nomads  The privatisation of Mongolian livestock to
the herders in the early 90’s and a lack of an enforceable government policy gradually resulted in the disappearance of these special types as herders neglected to pursue the guidelines that had been established under the Ministry of Agriculture for many years.  This was also a social issue as Mongolia underwent the transition from a command to a market economy.

Lost Treasures of the Mongolian Nomads  The world demand for cashmere grew to
unprecedented levels in the 90’s and the Mongolian herders reacted by increasing their herd size

Lost Treasures of the Mongolian Nomads  The world demand for cashmere grew to
unprecedented levels in the 90’s and the Mongolian herders reacted by increasing their herd size.  Demand fell largely on the basic Mongolian types of light grey and dark brown with all the special fibres being swept up in this mini gold rush.

Lost Treasures of the Mongolian Nomads  The world demand for cashmere grew to
unprecedented levels in the 90’s and the Mongolian herders reacted by increasing their herd size.  Demand fell largely on the basic Mongolian types of light grey and dark brown with all the special fibres being swept up in this mini gold rush.  Volume became the driver as the herders ignored their traditional ways in favour of providing as much cashmere as they possibly could

 The world demand for cashmere grew to unprecedented levels in the 90’s and the Mongolian herders reacted by increasing their herd size.  Demand fell largely on the basic Mongolian types of light grey and dark brown with all the special fibres being swept up in this mini gold rush.  Volume became the driver as the herders ignored their traditional ways in favour of providing as much cashmere as they possibly could  The cashmere goat herd population has increased five fold over the last twenty years currently standing at over 20,000,000.

Lost Treasures of the Mongolian Nomads

Lost Treasures of the Mongolian Nomads
 An example of this is Bayandelger red cashmere formerly known in Japan as ‘Khenti Red’ which was a much sought after quality and the herders in this region took great care in nurturing and preserving this type.

Lost Treasures of the Mongolian Nomads
 An example of this is Bayandelger red cashmere formerly known in Japan as ‘Khenti Red’ which was a much sought after quality and the herders in this region took great care in nurturing and preserving this type  Several attempts by sharp traders and breeders to relocate this type failed as the down reverted back to the more common natural beige.

Lost Treasures of the Mongolian Nomads
 An example of this is Bayandelger red cashmere formerly known in Japan as ‘Khenti Red’ which was a much sought after quality and the herders in this region took great care in nurturing and preserving this type.  Several attempts by sharp traders and breeders to relocate this type failed as the down reverted back to the more common natural beige.  The natural environment and soil type unique to this region makes this indigenous type truly exclusive.

Bayandelger red goat

Lost Treasures of the Mongolian Nomads  The peak of the recession in Japan in 2001
saw the demand for cashmere collapse and especially in the niche market sector where the Khenti red was prevalent.

Lost Treasures of the Mongolian Nomads  The peak of the recession in Japan in 2001
saw the demand for cashmere collapse and especially in the niche market sector where the Khenti red was prevalent.  Consequently the Bayandelger red cashmere become another casualty of the world economic crisis.

Lost Treasures of the Mongolian Nomads  The peak of the recession in Japan in 2001
saw the demand for cashmere collapse and especially in the niche market sector where the Khenti red was prevalent.  Consequently the Bayandelger red cashmere become another casualty of the world economic crisis.  Cashmere began to lose its identity as it became a commodity. Its market position fell as prices dropped

 The peak of the recession in Japan in 2001 saw the demand for cashmere collapse and especially in the niche market sector where the Khenti red was prevalent.  Consequently the Bayandelger red cashmere become another casualty of the world economic crisis.  Cashmere began to lose its identity as it became a commodity. Its market position fell as prices dropped.  Cashmere, which was largely the preserve of the wealthy was now available to almost everyone.

Lost Treasures of the Mongolian Nomads

Mongolia’s USP
 The Asian Development Bank sponsored Agriculture Marketing and Branding Development Project was charged with the task in 2011 of revitalising Mongolia’s cashmere industry.

Mongolia’s USP
 The Asian Development Bank sponsored Agriculture Marketing and Branding Development Project was charged with the task in 2011 of revitalising Mongolia’s cashmere industry.  The major challenge was to identify Mongolia’s Unique Selling Proposition. The AMBDP team consists of specialists in breeding, quality assurance and production with experience that dates back to the beginning of Mongolia’s entry into value added processing over 30 years ago.

Rediscovering Mongolia’s lost natural treasures  Drawing from this rich vein of experience
the team decided to conduct a research into rediscovering the unique Mongolian fibres.

Rediscovering Mongolia’s lost natural treasures  Drawing from this rich vein of experience
the team decided to conduct a research into rediscovering the unique Mongolian fibres.  This task began in Shine Jinst soum in Bayanhongor aimag where the majority of Mongolian white goats are located.

Rediscovering Mongolia’s lost natural treasures  Drawing from this rich vein of experience the team
decided to conduct a research into rediscovering the unique Mongolian fibres.  This task began in Shine Jinst soum in Bayanhongor aimag where the majority of Mongolian white goats are located.  A co-operation between the herder co-operatives, Altai LLC a leading cashmere company and AMBDP identified and seperated out the pure bred white Zala jinst Mongolian goats of fine micron, good length and free from black hair contamination

Zalaa Jinst white goat
 White goat photo

Herder co-operative

Tripartite Cooperation
 This co-operation lasted over several months with training being given to the herders on breeding, sorting and grading.

Tripartite Cooperation
 This co-operation lasted over several months with training being given to the herders on breeding, sorting and grading.  One hundred and sixty herder families were involved in this experiment and from over 12 tons of white cashmere less than 8% was classified as suitable to be nominated as one of Mongolia’s lost treasures.

Rediscovering Mongolia’s lost natural treasures

Cashmere Quality
 Before project work  After project work
Length Fineness Yield of the primary process 37,8 mm 16.8 mic 1 51.3 % 2 3 38.68 38.74 40.2 15.84 16.36 16.93 52 51.5 53.6 Length Fineness, mic

Yield

Rediscovering Mongolia’s Lost treasures
 The success of the pilot project in Shinejinst encouraged the AMBDP team into resurrecting the other region specific, unique types from Baatsagaan, Bayandelger,Tsagaan Ovoo and Durvuljin.

Rediscovering Mongolia’s Lost treasures
 The success of the pilot project in Shinejinst encouraged the AMBDP team into resurrecting the other region specific, unique types from Baatsagaan, Bayandelger,Tsagaan Ovoo and Durvuljin.  Colour, fineness and length are the special charactersitics of these types

Baatsagaan blue goat

Tsagaan Ovoo light grey goat

Dorvuljin brown goat

Mongolian Khangai Yak

Mongolian yak
 Mongolia is also home to special types of Yak fibre producing a highly unique light grey which our branding expert has christened Mongolian Platinum Yak down.

Mongolian Yak
 Mongolia is also home to special types of Yak fibre producing a highly unique light grey which our branding expert has christened Mongolian Platinum Yak down.  In recent years, the textile industry has greatly increased its demand for yak fibre. The yak has a high degree of adaptation to the ecosystem. No other domestic animal can feed on the vegetation growing at 2,000-4,000 metres .

Mongolian yak
 Mongolia is also home to special types of Yak fibre producing a highly unique light grey which our branding expert has christened Mongolian Platinum Yak down.  In recent years, the textile industry has greatly increased its demand for yak fibre. The yak has a high degree of adaptation to the ecosystem. No other domestic animal can feed on the vegetation growing at 2,000-4,000 metres .  The morphological and physiological characteristics of the yak endow it with an ability to resist cold, to scrape through snow for fodder and to graze very short grass.

Yak fibre
 The international yak market is expected to have a bright future, because the wool is seen as an exotic fibre and fits into the recent revival of natural fibres.

Yak fibre
 The international yak market is expected to have a bright future, because the wool is seen as an exotic fibre and fits into the recent revival of natural fibres.  The fashion industry is looking for new and innovative fibres, with the potential for higher margins

Yak fibre
 The international yak market is expected to have a bright future, because the wool is seen as an exotic fibre and fits into the recent revival of natural fibres.  The fashion industry is looking for new and innovative fibres, with the potential for higher margins  The best example of this kind of development is vicuna fibre, sourced mainly in Peru. The demand for other exotic fibres, such as mohair and alpaca, is also increasing

New luxury fibre?
 .  Yak wool, which is warmer than sheep wool, might be the next natural fibre to be taken up by fashion designers.

New luxury fibre ?
 . Yak wool, which is warmer than sheep wool, might be the next natural fibre to be taken up by fashion designers.  The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has run tests showing that yak wool is stronger but as thin and fine as merino wool.

The birth of Mongolian Noble fibre  The branding and marketing specialists on
the AMBDP team decided that these qualities were worthy of a special name.

The birth of Mongolian Noble fibre  The branding and marketing specialists on
the AMBDP team decided that these qualities were worthy of a special name.  Terms like Royalty and Nobility sprang to mind as effectively cashmere is the King of luxury fibres and ultimately it was felt that the word Noble has an intrinsic and powerful perceptual resonance with the Mongolian environment, culture, history and identity.

Visual Identity
 Furthermore It was felt that a form of visual identity akin to the Woolmark was necessary to compliment the brand name

Visual Identity
 Furthermore It was felt that a form of visual identity akin to the Woolmark was necessary to compliment the brand name

Visual Identity
 This visual identity for Mongolian Noble Fibre is a true collaboration between Mongolian and European creatives. The brand mark or Roundel is a distinctive rendering of the word “khan,” or king, in an ornate form of the traditional Mongolian script. It is balanced and elegant and its central spine even resembles the combs used to harvest the hair from the animals

Visual Identity
 This visual identity for Mongolian Noble Fibre is a true collaboration between Mongolian and European creatives. The brand mark or Roundel is a distinctive rendering of the word “khan,” or king, in an ornate form of the traditional Mongolian script. It is balanced and elegant and its central spine even resembles the combs used to harvest the hair from the animals

Mongolian Calligrapher
 The mark was drawn especially for this purpose by D. Batbayar, a legendary art professor in Mongolia and the man who (literally) wrote the book on the history of Mongolian writing and symbolism

European Design Studio
 The labeling system that incorporates the mark was designed by a Danish studio.

European Design Studio
 The labeling system that incorporates the mark was designed by a Danish studio.

Brand collateral

Brand collateral

Ingredient Brand
 Certified Mongolian Noble Fibre is not intended to be a stand alone brand rather what is termed an ‘ingredient brand’

Ingredient Brand
 Certified Mongolian Noble Fibre is not intended to be a stand alone brand rather what is termed an ‘ingredient brand’  It is designed to compliment the principle brand as an endorsement, confirmation of provenance, guarantee of quality and an assurance that the product is made from 100% pure Mongolian cashmere

Mongolian Pavilion
 For anyone interested to see and feel some of the products made from these ‘Noble Fibres’ and to obtain more information then please visit the Mongolian Pavilion in Hall 5F, Stands A 26, 28 and 30, where representatives from several leading Mongolian manufacturers, the Mongolian Cashmere and Wool Assosciation and the Agriculture Marketing, Branding and Development Project will be there to welcome you.

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