Mongolian designer Mandkhai Jargalsaikhan’s eponymous brand is dedicated to the sustainable production of high quality cashmere. Using yarn spun from the coats of free roaming goats, the cashmere is dyed and then delicately crafted into elegant, contemporary garments. We ask the designer 6 Questions.
1. What’s your favourite memory from your childhood?
My favourite memories will have to be the times I spent at the factory growing up. My parents always worked until late so I would often be with them at the factory watching the craftsmen do their jobs and playing around.
We got visitors regularly at the factory and one time everyone kept asking me to go this man and ask for an autograph. I did as I was told not knowing who it was because I must have been around 5-6 years old. Later I found out it was Richard Gere!
2. Why did you want to start your own brand?
I started MANDKHAI because I saw that there was a gap in the market for well designed, modern cashmere pieces. Everything I saw was very basic and old fashioned. After studying fashion design in London, I felt like I could offer something more exciting using my background in cashmere production. We make everything ourselves in our factory in Mongolia and are vertically integrated, so I really wanted to show the different processes and give an insight into the craftsmanship and expertise that goes into the production of cashmere, which in itself is sustainable.
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My name means to rise above in Mongolian. I decided to stick with my name because I wanted the brand to be personal and relatable while staying true to my roots.
3. What’s your top tip for recognising and buying high quality cashmere?
Just because it’s super soft does not necessarily mean it’s good quality cashmere. Do have a look at where it was made. Mongolian cashmere (not to be confused with inner Mongolia as that’s a region in China) is of higher quality because the cashmere comes from free roaming goats that produce the fibre to survive the harsh winters reaching up to -50C. Good quality cashmere will last you decades and becomes even softer as you wear it and will even stop pilling.
4. Do you think it’s possible for fashion to become fully sustainable?
Everything is possible, so yes I do think fashion can become fully sustainable. It just needs people to want it.
5. Who or what is inspiring you right now?
A trip I took to Wyoming and Jackson hole is currently inspiring me. The nature is beautiful there and it’s similar to Mongolia in some areas. Our next collection is based on this trip and I am very excited to share it soon.
6. What’s next for MANDKHAI?
Recently we have added a menswear line and are excited to see the growth as we are getting good responses. I think fashion is becoming more and more androgynous and it will be definitely interesting to design for men. We will also keep pushing our womenswear and work to create an awareness around cashmere production.
Discover the MANDKHAI collections: mandkhai.com