Label: Ariunaa Suri (Ariunaa Surenjav), Photo: Creative Studio
Ariunaa Suri, Photo: Creative Studio

Crossing Fashion Mongolia

Crossing Fashion, the project initiated by the Afro-Asian Institute AAI and the Graz fashion collective PELL MELL is a project as much about our society, environment or aesthetic currents, as it is about fashion itself.

In the words of the project’s manager Bettina Reichl the Crossing Fashion workshop series strive to "promote the cultural exchange on the textile level". It allows for an "encounter between designers from different countries, and their creative cooperation facilitate a profound insight into the foreign living environment and culture", but not only that. As Reichl notes, the entire project is "following  the motto Creating with responsibility – Working with imagination". Crossing Fashion helps in building up a network of creative minds, industry and society to support sustainable  design, corporate social responsibility, cultural consciousness as well as innovative concepts for a creative based livelihood.

Ever since its establishment in 2004, Crossing Fashion has been dealing with relevant and important issues in our society, all underlined by the theme of fashion. The project has since involved countless designers in the cultural and artistic exchange, bringing individuals from Niger, Cuba, Brazil, India, Sri Lanka or Senegal to Austria, where they are invited to create, whilst always remaining in contact with each other, as well as with local artists, thus facilitating a dialogue about many vital issues, opening minds, bringing new ideas and solutions to the world or simply experimenting with art. 

Label: Odrowaz (Bettina Reichl), Photo: Maryam Mohammadi

Label: Odrowaz (Bettina Reichl), Photo: Maryam Mohammadi

2015 is the year when Crossing Fashion centers on Mongolia. From 8th - 29th of August a temporary fashion workshop will be set up at the University of Technology and Science in Ulan Bator, where designers from both countries will come together. The result of the temporary atelier will be presented at the Goyol Fashion Festival in Mongolia in December, and then brought to Graz for the January 2016 fashion show of the Art University Graz. 

Mongolia, with its impressive landscape, rich history and stunning craftwork which has in many cases retained its historical lustre even today, is the perfect setting. Increasingly modern, also due to the large number of the young in the country’s hip capital Ulan Bator, Mongolia is quickly becoming somewhat of a fashion powerhouse. A material very much synonymous with the country- cashmere, is today a precious commodity, and "the cashmere wool produced from the dense, soft undercoat hair of the goats, ranks among the most precious natural fibres".

It is a country in many ways similar to Austria, proud of its high altitudes, of the cultures thriving in them and of the customs and crafts coming from them. The nomadic culture of Mongolian people of the past is especially relevant too for the Crossing Fashion project, as it brings with it the need for the sustainable, and it reflects the necessity of accumulating diverse knowledge and  techniques, all issues featured in the Austrian project itself.

Text: Manuela Mitevova
Photos:  Creative Studio, Maryam Mohammadi
Participating Designers:
Mongolia: Ariunaa Surenjav / Batzaya Khaimchig / Khulan Soyolsaikhan
Austria: kay double U / ni-ly / Odrowaz 

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