Fashion Designer - Ovdogmid Delgerdalai

Ovdogmid Delgerdalai was born in Mongolia in 1980. From 1998 to 2003 he studied Fine Arts at the Institute of Fine Arts in Ulaanbaatar. Over the next two years he attended the Technical University to expand his knowledge of design, and subsequently received his degree from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan, Italy.

What makes his work special are the one-of-a-kind materials he employs, materials he often develops himself. Ovdogmid is constantly seeking new possibilities for combining components and for applying them in his designs. His materials are frequently not just novel but also unconventional, and they are very much influenced by Mongolia and its traditions.

He enjoys working with things long used by the country’s nomads – such as felt, which can be found not only in yurts, clothes and shoes, but also in art. Ovdogmid considers himself more an artist than designer, which is perhaps why he began experimenting with felt – a highly versatile substance – soon after he finished studying painting. Yet the felt he uses has nothing to do with the coarse fabric that many people know from craft workshops or art classes in school. Starting with merino wool, Ovdogmid conjures up a fine, soft material that can be further transformed into extraordinary clothing. He designs his clothing directly on a dressmaker’s dummy, not sewing the individual pieces together, but felting them together into a seamless whole. Other materials are integrated into the process or sewn on afterwards as accents. The result is a unique garment – and a work of art.

Prizes and Honours:

2004 Award for Best Costume. Goyol Festival
1st Prize, Festival of Mongolian National Costumes

Ten questions for Ovdogmid Delgerdalai

How would you define “art” in just one sentence?
Art is the light that illuminates everything.

Art of love?
Both are essential to life and, therefore, for me, inseparable.

What would life be like for you if there were no art?
Dark.

Which art project would you attempt if money were no object?
I’ve never really thought about which projects I would do if I had a lot of money. But it feels good to imagine giving jobs to a lot of people and, at the same time, creating many different collections.

What is the nicest place in your native country?
My home and my studio. When I’m tired after working a lot in the studio, then the best place for me to chill is at home. That’s my life.

What does “Mongolia” mean to you?
Mongolia is the country where I was born. Roots, the history of our ancestors, tradition, culture – I feel all of that in Mongolia.

Where do you draw your inspiration from for the work you do?
Tradition and modernity. Nature is an unending source of inspiration.

Why did you study in Italy?
It was a childhood dream. And then fate took me to Italy.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a designer in Mongolia?
Naturally it’s a huge advantage to work in my native land, according to however I feel at the moment. Not everyone is so lucky. The disadvantage is that the world of fashion design is far away – if you don’t include the Internet.

If you could wish three things for Mongolia, what would they be?
I would wish for the population of Mongolia to increase. I would wish for better health-care policies, better education and a better economy. But that makes four wishes. I’m always a bit greedy.