Mongolian runway show features cultural pride

By Kang Hyun-kyung

"Forget the old, nomadic Mongolia. Explore a new, culturally sophisticated Mongolia."

This is the message Mongolian Ambassador Baasanjav Ganbold said he intended to convey to the Korean public through a fashion show his embassy organized to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Korea-Mongolia diplomatic relations.

The runway show at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul on April 8 featured the past, the present and the future of Mongolia through three Mongolian designers' collections. The first collection showed a reinterpretation of Mongolian tradition, followed by cashmere pieces and evening dresses.

Ganbold said some of the Mongolian models are world-class professionals who appeared on the catwalks in Europe or the United States.

A Mongolian violinist played pop-style music at the show, adding fun and excitement to the anniversary event and drawing applause from the audience.

Until last year, Mongolian artists used to perform or showcase their works at exhibitions in Korea every year to celebrate the anniversary.

This year, Ambassador Ganbold said, he wanted to try something new and innovative because it marks the 25th anniversary of bilateral relations. Cultural pride motivated him to organize such a unique event.

"I thought it would be great to showcase our nomadic and modern lifestyle through a fashion show which demonstrates the evolvement of the country from its past, to the present and the future," the envoy said. "Korea has a lot to offer to help Mongolia achieve economic growth. But at the same time, I think we, Mongolians also have things to offer to Korea. Culture is one of them."

Mongolians are culturally sophisticated, he said.

Renowned designer Lie Sang-bong, who watched the show at the reception, praised Ambassador Ganbold highly for showcasing his country's culture through such a dynamic event featuring music and high fashion.

"I was shocked at the fashion show. I mean that as a compliment. It was fantastic," he said.

Lie noted fashion is one of the most effective ways to help the public understand foreign culture because it is part of everybody's life and people know about fashion.

"The fashion show helped me build understanding of Mongolian culture. I clearly could see the unique characteristics of Mongolian culture through high fashion that featured on the show. It was a very good idea," he said.

"One thing that I regret about today's runway show is that if it were me, I would have tried to add a collection featuring the fashion trends of the host country simply because this event is for the anniversary of bilateral relations."

The Embassy of Mongolia hosted another fashion show at the National Assembly on April 9. 
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