It has been four years since Mongolian designer B.Yavuutsagaan has introduced her "Yavuu" brand to the Japanese market. Her designs are simple, yet elegant and classic. She is making daily elegant clothes using kimono material with quality meeting international standards.
She will hold her fashion show in Mongolia on Oct 21st.
-You are an artist, who have been living in Japan for many years. When did you first visited in Japan?
-I was born in Byankhongor aimag. After my graduation from high school, I was studying at the Urlakh Erdem fashion design institute and I went to Japan from the middle of my academic year. When I was in secondary school, a Japanese TV series "Oshin" was screening in Mongolia. I got all my understanding about the Japan from that movie. I really liked the national costumes appeared in Oshin and started to get interested.
I learned Japanese traditions from that movie. At that time, Mongolians used to go abroad for higher education. For me, it was not enough to work as a designer in Mongolia. Then I decided to go to Japan when I was studying at Urlakh Erdem fashion design institute. I have come back in Mongolia and stayed here for a while. Now it is my 12th year in Japan.
During that time, I have studied at Japanese language course for two years and entered the university by successfully passing the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. Then I completed my bachelor degree at Japanese university.
During my study for master degree, there were teachers, educated people and foreign students willing to release their own brand with me. There were only four Japanese students at my class out of over 10 students.
My university is well acknowledged in the world. Graduate students usually work for famous brands. The teachers were working as tailors at famous brands such as Christian Dior and Dolce Gabbana. As they have built their own brands after working at high-end brands, they gave us all knowledge and tips to build our own brand. I have learned a lot of things from my teachers. Most importantly, I have learned one of production technology, a mass production.
-When did you open the first store in Japan?
-Actually, it was not my own dedicated store. I have just sold my 2015 collection at the department store which united all the international famous brands. After my exhibition, I sold my clothes at four major stores of Japan, such as Seibu and Odakyu.
-Are you still selling your clothes at these stores?
-Now I am designing only custom clothes. I have been working with the Kimono Association for several years. I introduced my first collection made with kimono material at Mercedes Benz Fashion week. Kimono Association watched the show and appraised my work. They said I did luxurious and innovative designs using kimono material.
-More detials on your daily clothes made with kimono materials, please? Kimono material is quite expensive and I think your collections are elegant and luxury.
-Japanese style is very simple yet elegant. They like fancy and odd clothes. I design modern clothes using kimono material such as cocktail dress and costumes. I am the first designer invented to make daily clothes using kimono material.
-What challenges have you faced when making new collection?
-Kimono material is not suited for daily clothes. I put different types of material under kimono material when I sew them. After many attempts, I have found the solution to work with kimono material.
-Have you exported your products to other countries except Japan?
-Not yet. I am just becoming popular in Japan. Brand can be carried out by strong people. In other words, people who could protect the brand, can survive in the market. It needs intelligence and even patience, there are many talented people in fashion industry.
-How are Japanese reacting to your designs?
-They are really interested and surprised. Because they know that kimono material is very expensive and elegant. However, in Mongolia, it takes more time to be understood.
My designs are dedicated for middle-aged women who have great sense of elegant style, familiar with international brands as well as strong and patient. My customers notice that my designs are comfortable when they try them on.
-How often did you attend fashion shows at Japan?
-It has been four years since the establishment of my brand, Yavuu. I have achieved many success during that time. Anyway, I sold my designs at brand stores, attended the Mercedes Benz Show and many other events. Also, I organize solo-exhibition every two years. Japan has different market than Mongolia. Fashion shows are held in October and March every year. They determine the fashion trends one year ahead.
Yavuu follows that path. Our customers have high sense of fashion. That is why we can not stay behind the latest trends. We decorate trending designs with kimono material and create unique designs with original patterned materials.
-Did you receive job offers from Japanese famous brands?
-Yes. I have received invitation from three companies and I worked with them.
-How do you see the fashion trends of Ulaanbaatar young adults?
-They became stylish now. But there are two types of people. One of them are not stylish while others are too stylish following the latest fashion trends and dress with high fashion sense.
-Who is your favorite Mongolian designer?
-I see designs of Michel&Amazonka and other designers online. Mongolian designers are very skilled. I have planned to make clothes with cashmere. I would like to cooperate with cashmere companies and hold joint exhibition in Japan.
Japanese prefer technique first. If your clothes have good techniques, you can release mass products. I think Mongolian designers lack techniques for mass production and good tailoring.
-Are you involved in each production process?
-I tailor the clothes. I do everything on my own and it helped me to be independent. That is the advantage. In order to make one design, I sew it for two or three times using pilot cloth. I must not miss even one or two millimeters.
-You mentioned before that you create the material yourself.
-I draw the pattern of the cotton. At my first fashion show, I have displayed collections with Picasso-styled patterns. It was handmade embroidery and I made it myself.
-What is your purpose?
-Japanese think about me as a Mongolian designer and Mongolian brand who have a team and manufacture in Mongolia. Therefore, my future aim is to establish fashion center in Mongolia. I feel incomplete as I have nothing done in Mongolia.
-Why did you decide to become a designer?
-I wanted to wear something unique when I was a child. At that time, everybody wore same uniforms and clothes. I was making clothes for my barbie and eventually started to make clothes for myself. Later, I learned to make fancy dress for myself cutting my mom`s old dresses. My mother was praising and encouraging me. My parents have always been supportive. I used to participate in youth designer festivals. Plus, I was hardworking.
-You said that you will release your own shoes and bags soon. How well did you conduct research and improve yourself?
-I have researched for a while. I could not find sole meeting the standards. We need to import the sole from Japan. Sole of a shoe is very significant which keeps the balance of feet. Also, heels, they are not easy to produce. But we can produce main features in Japan and complete the products in Mongolia. Even thou we have very few things meeting the international standards, we still have skilled and talented workforce.
-People say that entering Mongolian market is not that easy.
-Indeed. 100 pieces of clothes in Japan are sold easily and quickly as it has millions of population. However, in Mongolia, the market is only in Ulaanbaatar city. Thus, our designers have to conduct a study before taking any project. Also, designers must reflect their brand features to the 50 percent of the clothes, while taking into consideration the market for the remaining 50 percent. We have many opportunities, if we research well.
-How do you choose your models?
-I do not choose young girls as our models. If I choose skinny and tall models, Japanese women would think that it will not fit perfectly for me. At first, I did the modeling and wore my clothes. I think it will be more close to our customers. I choose models who can show the clothes. But it depends on the design.
-You are planning to organize your fashion show in Ulaanbaatar. More on that, please?
-I will introduce my Yavuu brand in Mongolia on Oct 21. It features many designs made with kimono material. Also, it includes my designs for public. Director of Kimono Association will hold exhibition at the show. Therefore, Mongolians are able to feel the luxuriousness of kimono. My show will be rich in intersting features.
-Thank you for the interview. Good luck to you.
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