July 31, 2009

Nomads, Mongolian Hats & Wooyoungmi

Job instability, modern transportation, globalization, restlessness, adventure—these are only a few causes of geographic mobility, making the contemporary man increasingly more willing to uproot and replant multiple times throughout life as a type of modern-day nomad.

Moreover, runways and catwalks around the world have been reflecting this trend in what I like to call “nomadic-inspired menswear.” Elegant in look and romantic in thought, however, these styles are not just based in fiction: there exist 30-40 million nomads throughout the world today.

Probably the country with the most prevalent nomadic history is Mongolia, whose culture has been influenced by nomadic ways since prehistoric times! Even the clothing, such as the Mongolian hat, has evolved out of conditions and activities that have shaped nomadic life over the centuries.

Considered to be tokens of luck and signs of respect, the Mongolian hat exceeds one hundred in styles. Designed to protect against the wind and cold of the steppe, Mongolian hats indicate social status through their ornaments and embroideries. Some are fashioned with 32 stitches, which symbolize the 32 Mongolian tribes.

In her 2009 a/w collection, Wooyoungmi appeals to contemporary nomads as she draws inspiration from the nomadic heritage of Mongolia, featuring her take on the various styles of the Mongolian hat.

Born 1959 in Seoul, Korea, Wooyoungmi is a graduate of fashion from Seoul University and manages two of her own menswear labels—Solid Homme and Wooyoungmi—which she launched in 1988 and 2002, respectively.

Drawing inspiration also from architecture, Wooyoungmi strives successfully for clean cuts in her menswear designs.

Photo 2009 a/w Paris Collection Copyright Wooyoungmi.
Slideshow 2009 a/wParis Collection Copyright

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