The Mongolian deel (pronounced “dale”) is a long tunic made from thick cotton material with narrow sleeves, a wide belt and a high stiff collar and has remain unchanged since the days of Chinngis Khan.
Mongolian designers are now targeting to export ‘deel’ to Inner Mongolia, as well as other countries. Urban Jeans, Mongolia’s first mass producer of jeans, exported its first batch of garments based on the deel to China in January, and has signed sales agreements with three distributors in Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia.The company is also targeting sales in Southeast Asia, while Khadlan, another Mongolian manufacturer, is exporting winter deels to neighbouring Russian provinces.
D.Tungalag, who founded Urban Jeans with savings accumulated during a 10-year stint in the U.K., said there is a thriving market for ethnic designs in Mongolia, where the company released its first designs just before the 2016 Mongolian summer festival of Naadam.
Modernized versions of the deel usually retain the distinctive standing collar of the traditional garment, but incorporate elements of Western forms such as skirts, dresses or jumpsuits. Traditional motifs such as shoulder and waist buttons are kept for aesthetic purposes, but practical improvements such as zips are added for urban practicality. Designers often decorate outfits with Mongolian ornamental patterns.
Some Mongolians complain that designers have made the modernized deel look too much like traditional dress in other Asian countries, such as the Vietnamese Ao Dai or the Chinese Qipao, largely by fiddling with the high collar. But B.Enkhbaatar, who makes deels under the brand KADR, is sanguine about the similarities in Asian attire, saying that many foreign styles originated in Mongolia. (Source: Nikkei Asian Review)