Tengri x Harry Stedman — The Mariner

Instilling world travels, adventure and heritage into our collaborations

Having started Tengri as a result of travels, it made sense that our first collaboration is the result of another travel-related theme. The limited-edition quarter-zip sweater, ‘The Mariner’, brings together Harry’s and the Cunard Yanks’ transatlantic adventures of the 1950s, utilitarian functionality, and Tengri’s modern-day warrior spirit, to create a piece of high-quality knitwear.

The classic design of this sweater became synonymous with Harry Stedman’s workwear, easy to pull on and off, and worn over a trusty white T-shirt, and underneath his pea coat or slicker jacket in adverse conditions on deck. The new translation created with Tengri Noble Yarns has been knitted in a small Scottish mill just south of Glasgow, hand-loomed by a passionate team of craftsmen and washed in the same soft waters used by local whisky distillers. In keeping with our spirit of adventure, respect for nature and authentically capturing the spirit of places where Tengri garments are sourced and made, The Mariner was photographed in Scotland by one of the world’s leading expedition and adventure travel photographers, Martin Hartley.

Images: Nancy Johnston, Tengri CEO, and Amy Greenland, Harry Stedman designer, meeting the team in Scotland to discuss the finishing details for The Mariner sweater. Battling wind and rain, the team with model Kamil Lemieszewski on location in Scotland with expedition photographer, Martin Hartley, for the shoot.  

We’re honoured to have the opportunity to recreate a piece synonymous with Harry Stedman’s influential look. Every detail of the Harry Stedman brand links to Harry’s life stories and adventures, from the first point of research to the last stitch sewn on a garment, and quality is everything.

Tengri’s noble yak yarns complement and elevate this piece, bringing it to life with luxurious fibres that offer unique properties that stand the test of time.

Tengri drives a new wave of ethical fashion, offering precious and sustainably sourced materials, celebrating the values of heritage craftsmanship and providing classic longevity. It is about true investment pieces.

Harry Stedman wearing the original quarter-zip sweater

Harry Stedman wearing the original quarter-zip sweater

Recreated 'The Mariner' sweater inspired by the original quarter-zip sweater

Recreated 'The Mariner' sweater inspired by the original quarter-zip sweater

Harry Stedman and The Cunard Yanks exhibition is on until 28th October in Liverpool, England.

Photo credits : Nancy Johnston, Kamil Lemieszewski, Martin Hartley ©Tengri Ltd.

Journey from east to west – Transforming fibres to fabric

The journey of the clothes we wear is a fascinating one. The origin of the material, how it is grown and then converted from one form into another to produce the yarns, fabric and then garments, often holds an untold yet rich story. The complex relationships between nature – the land, weather, insects, plants and animals – and communities all over the world are connected with technological innovations and traditional craftsmanship in the supply chain. These transform precious natural materials into amazing products – and it’s an under-appreciated journey.

Sitting on bales of fibre, a spool of Khangai yak yarn and wearing the Tengri Chevron coat made of yak fabric.

Sitting on bales of fibre, a spool of Khangai yak yarn and wearing the Tengri Chevron coat made of yak fabric.

The start of the journey – sourcing Khangai yak fibres

Mongolian yaks roam semi-wild, often at high altitudes. As indigenous animals, yaks graze gently on the steppes, living symbiotically within their natural ecosystem, allowing plant species and other wildlife to regenerate and thrive.

The Khangai mountains in western Mongolia are home to nomadic herder families who live off the land, and to an indigenous breed of yak only found in this region. The families move four to eight times a year to find good pastures for their animals. Research has revealed that because the yaks endure hot summers and cold winters (temperatures range between -40C and +40C), coupled with fluctuating day- and night-time micro-temperatures, they produce one of the softest Mongolian yak fibres. Even more prized are the rare, natural silver-coloured yak fibres.

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Nomadic families in the east

In early spring and summer, the yaks begin to shed their winter coats. Working with a cooperative involving more than 4,500 nomadic herder families living in the Khangai region, I meet the cooperative’s leader to arrange an annual combing of the yaks. Each family corals their herd of yaks and each animal is individually hand-combed, producing a precious 100 grams of fibre, which is sold to Tengri at source, available only once a year.

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Once each family has finished combing their yaks, the fibres are collected and bundled at the regional cooperative office. The herders organise a vehicle and drive the fibres across the country to the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar.

The herders deliver the fibres to our designated partners in Ulaanbaatar, who wash the fibres in a gentle detergent, developed in England specifically for fine woollen fibres. The wet fibres are then put through a conveyor belt and through a large heating unit, from which the fibres emerge dry and collected, ready for hand-sorting into the different natural colours of the yak: silver, tan and cocoa. 

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Washing the fibres

Washing the fibres

Drying and sorting the fibres

Drying and sorting the fibres

The fibres come in three grades: coarse, secondary and premium down. Because fibres are combed direct from each animal, a refining stage puts the fibres through large carding machines that comb out the different grades of fibres. The longer, coarse fibres are first to be filtered out and the softest, premium fibres are produced last. These are spun and woven into the finest yarns and fabrics.

Meet Peter Gledhill, who works with some of the world's leading textile experts to produce the finest cloth at his family mill. Take a look at this video to learn more about Peter's commitment to traditional craftsmanship and see how his company, R. Gledhill, helps to produce the premium yarns and fabrics for Tengri's collection. It's another vital stage of the global journey that transforms fibres into fabrics and connects communities around the world from east to west.

  

Photo credits: Nancy Johnston and Josh Exell © Tengri Ltd

Creating Systemic Change - Why I started a fashion brand with nomadic yak herders

As a kid, I saw a picture of Mongolia and the images fascinated me. The epic landscapes, nomadic way of life and the delicate and interconnected relationship between herders, the land and animals all really captivated me. The picture was part of a recruitment to enlist teachers, doctors, nurses and social workers to work in countries new to democracy and a free-market economy. Mongolia was one of the countries recruiting for help. Although I was too young to volunteer, that image stayed in my mind and I was determined to travel the world and help people. Over the years, I followed my passions, travelling to various parts of the world, climbing a few mountains, seeking adventure and challenge. I eventually found my niche by becoming a social worker, specialising in designing and delivering innovative and strategic programmes that deliver systemic change and social impact.

Mongolia

The start of my journey

In 2013, I finally made it to Mongolia, fulfilling a life-long dream. It was there, in the vast steppes, that I lived with a nomadic yak herder family for the first time and fell in love with the yaks and the delicate, yet harsh, nomadic way of life.

I was also able to experience first hand the challenges the family faced. They had a young daughter and were desperately trying to save money for her education. I had a pit in my stomach knowing that no matter how hard the family worked, they would never be able to afford to give her the education or offer her the privileged opportunities I had, living in a developed country. I was a lucky refugee baby born in the USA, the first child in my family born outside Asia. Now living in a world-class city such as London, I saw myself in that little girl and couldn’t stop thinking about what could be done to help her and her family, so that she could one day have the same opportunities and experiences as me.

A vicious cycle of poverty and environmental destruction

While in Mongolia, I discovered that the future of nomadic herders and their livelihoods were threatened by rapid industrialisation and land-erosion. According to the United Nations Development Programme, as much as 90 percent of is fragile and dry-land, under constant threat of desertification.  I was also flabbergasted to find that Mongolia, a country with a population of three million (less than half that of London), is the second-largest global supplier of premium fibres, supplying to the world’s top luxury fashion brands, as part of €4 billion cashmere industry currently experiencing a supply crisis. Mongolia has the smallest density of population to land mass in the world, where people are living on $1USD/£1.50 per day. Despite a thriving export industry, Mongolia’s animal fibre industry is still reliant on government subsidies, funded largely by mining.  

The severe land-desertification, effects of climate change, dwindling supply and increasing global demand for cashmere is resulting in a vicious and unsustainable cycle of poverty and harm to nature, wild animals and nomadic herders. Many consumers unknowingly choose to purchase unsustainable knitwear, which results in wild animals becoming the ultimate "fashion victims".  

yak fibre

Discovering yak, the new ‘golden fleece

What I discovered in Mongolia was that yak hair is a luxurious, sustainable, eco- and animal-friendly fibre. Mongolian yak roam semi-wild, often at high altitudes. They graze gently on the steppes and are an indigenous species that live symbiotically in the ecosystem, allowing plant species and other wildlife to regenerate and thrive.

This precious fibre can be sourced only by hand-combing each yak individually, once a year, when the animals shed their winter coats. On average, only 100 grammes of fibre are available from each yak. As soft as cashmere and warmer than merino wool, yak fibres are naturally robust – resistant to odours and water, and less prone to pilling than other fibres. As well as being light, breathable and hypoallergenic, it’s an all-natural material with the added bonus of being machine washable! I experienced an “Ah-ha” moment. Why aren’t the unique qualities of this very special fibre recognised in the global fashion and textile industry?

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My first fibre purchase

Having discovered this, I felt I had a moral choice, if not an obligation, to work with nomadic herders to launch a fashion brand that would make a difference. Using my meagre life-savings I bought my first tonne of yak fibre direct from herders. 

With help from my extended network of friends, family and colleagues, Tengri was created. Slowly, what started out as a small group evolved into a collective movement of people involved in design, fashion, arts, technology, marketing, business, conservation biology and many other disciplines helping to shape Tengri.

Tengri Collective

Small steps to a fashion revolution. Creating a ‘fairshare’ fashion brand

It felt right that I set up Tengri as a ‘fairshare’ business, designed in partnership with the herders from whom I source premium noble yak fibres directly, and share the business profits with them, fairly and squarely. It’s a relatively simple model and in a very short time, the number of nomadic families involved in the cooperatives trading with Tengri grew from 398 to more than 4,500.

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Sustainable fashion as a force for good

Tengri’s direct supply chain with herders takes forward the work of more than a decade’s worth of conservation, sustainable development and international research conducted as part of the Green Gold project, our partners in Mongolia. Our international trading activity with nomadic herders has supported the influence of the Mongolian government in granting land and herding rights to herder families involved with Tengri, rights that were not previously recognised. Our work has inspired environmental activism and has enabled the nomadic herder community in Mongolia for the first time to trade and export goods directly on the international market without any intermediary support or third-party intervention or assistance. We are now in the early stages of furthering this research with conservationist scientists to look more closely at our environmental impact on the fragile ecosystem, and determine whether or not fashion can truly be a force for good.

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From fibre to fashion – pioneering textile innovation

Since autumn 2014, Tengri has been the first brand to use Mongolian yak fibre to develop and manufacture noble yak yarns in Britain. During this process, I discovered that 25 percent of most woollen fibres are introduced to the industry as yarns and woven into fabrics and approximately 75 percent end up as by-product waste. Working with some of the world’s leading textile researchers and scientists, as well as highly skilled craftsman in Scotland and England, we are launching a new line of luxury yarns made in Yorkshire, which will go into every product. We are looking at innovative ways to create new yarns and fabric fromall the fibres, leading to zero waste. This includes the use of a range of green technologies, closed-loop systems, ballistic-based technology and waterless and toxic-free dyes made from locally sourced plants.

I’m incredibly proud, honoured and humbled that Tengri has been recognised as one of the world’s top 100 sustainable solutions by our inclusion in Sustainia100, the annual guide to innovative sustainability solutions. Sustainia100 identifies the leading organisations that tackle some of the most difficult challenges and to contribute to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, evaluated by independent sustainability experts from 20 international research organizations including Yale University, WWF, Acumen, and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The fashion industry is experiencing, first-hand, the detrimental impact that economic and environmental challenges are having on the source of much of its premium raw materials. The current landscape is unsustainable. I saw an opportunity where a collective movement of design, fashion, ethics, business, environmental activism and individual consumer choice could come together to do good and make a difference.

With your support, I am proud to be spearheading systemic change. Thank you for joining me and I look forward to continuing our journey in building an aspirational company to do good.

Read our feature on Sustainia100 here

Nancy Johnston- Socialpreneur, CEO & Founder - Tengri

An Investment in Our Future

 

Meet Susanne Rabens, Tengri’s very first customer, and discover why she came to be our first investor.

A couple of years ago, I decided to open a store that only sold products that were eco-friendly, sustainable, ethically made, and of course, beautiful and appealing to the higher-end customer I was targeting. The tagline for the store was, “Shop Well. Do Good.” It was my attempt to start a business that allowed me to do what I loved, to make money to provide for myself and my family, and to share the profits with everyone involved. 

Susanne Rabens

Searching for the truth behind ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ labels

I searched for goods and had some success in finding products that were ethically made with the people involved being paid a fair wage for their labour, but that was only half the story. The reality is that the raw materials used were quite often not only unsustainable, but in fact, were very harmful to people, the land, the animals, or all three. 

Starting out, I had no idea that something as common as cotton has devastating effects on the land and the people who grow it, and worse, there was no way to determine if those people were being paid a fair wage, as if there is a fair wage for people exposed to pesticides that hurt them and led to birth defects in their children. The same is true of many fabrics commonly used, so my quest to find goods that met my standards was not as easy as I had hoped.

The lack of supply chain transparency

My research for products and companies became routine and quite simple. I would go to the website of the company purporting to be selling sustainable and ethically made clothing, look at the fashion, and if I thought the clothes would appeal to my potential customers living in the New York City area, I read the “About” page to determine if the company’s ethics were in line with my own. 

It was rare for me to get to the “About” page, and even when I did and admired the company’s ethics and efforts, further research into the products often showed a glaring lack of ethics and/or sustainability with regards to the raw materials used, never mind that I was completely unable to trace the entire supply chain.

The magic of social media

A twitter recommendation on who to follow led me to Tengri, and the moment I saw the clothes, I got excited. I continued and after learning about the company, their products, and the founder, Nancy Johnston, I knew that although my store had little chance of coming to fruition due to lack of supply (and no wholesale option from Tengri at the time), I had found something special. Tengri has a 100% traceable, sustainable, ethical, eco- and animal-friendly supply chain, and the Mongolian yak herders were the biggest beneficiaries of Nancy’s endeavour. In all my research, I had found no other company like this one, and I quickly fell in love with the company’s mission and came to admire a woman I had yet to meet. 

 

Fate sent me an email

As fate would have it, I stumbled upon Tengri just as the website was in beta mode for ordering. I understood I couldn’t actually get what I ordered, but in an effort to help them test their system, I happily placed one anyway. Little did I know then that the site had literally just gone live and a few people in London looked at the order coming through and wondered how the heck some woman from New Jersey had become their first unofficial customer. Soon afterwards, I received an email from Nancy basically asking that question, and after a few email exchanges, we spoke on the phone. The conversation left me quite impressed with Nancy, who was making new rules and breaking new ground. I quickly realized that the company is much more than a fashion brand, and Nancy is much more than your ordinary entrepreneur. She has a vision that goes well beyond succeeding as a company. 

Becoming Tengri’s first customer

Soon after my first conversation with Nancy, the site went live, and I officially became the first customer, buying a beautiful and unique coat for myself. I then supported her crowdfunding efforts with a contribution that led to me owning a pair of pants in the lightest, and least-available colour of all. As luck would have it, Nancy was coming to The Parson School of Design in New York, and it was there that I met her in person for the first time. She hand-delivered my clothes, which were beautiful, fitted perfectly and were softer, lighter, and warmer than I had imagined. As a bonus, I was able to buy a second coat that Nancy had designed and made for herself which was indicative of her generous spirit. Most impressive of all was Nancy herself, and we not only formed a friendship, but I took a more serious interest in her company. 

Why I became Tengri’s first investor

I spoke regularly with Nancy and our conversations were always filled with good news on top of good news, new connections, new outlets and new potential for her products. I really wanted to get involved and to help her in any way that I could. There was not much I could do from New Jersey, but the opportunity presented itself for me to offer a convertible business loan with 5% interest or conversion to equity in Tengri as an investor. Running a young company creating new products never seen before on the market, Nancy needed help to fund a second purchase of yak fibres, processing costs, as well as costs that come with trying to launch a new brand. 

Soon afterwards, we decided it would be a great idea for me to visit the UK to gain further insight into the business and to meet the people who were behind Tengri. The trip to London included a few days in the Scottish Borders to see the raw materials, the factories where the fibres become yarn, then fabric and/or knitwear, as well as a day at Heriot-Watt University to learn more about textile designs and the role technology can play in the designs and enhancing the yarns. 

It was a whirlwind trip, and never in my life have I seen so much or met so many people over the course of seven days, nor have I ever been as impressed. Our conversations had led me to believe the company had an almost unlimited potential for growth, and my trip confirmed that belief. My convictions only grew as I spoke with the people working for her and with her. Every one of them, successful in their own fields, having met Nancy and understood her vision, is as passionate as I am about helping her in any way possible. Nancy and her ideas clearly inspire not just me, but everyone she meets.

Part of me worried that I would need back the money I used to help finance Tengri. I have one child heading to college this year and another two years behind (and as of now I have no store to bring income my way.) But, then I thought, I’ll kick myself when Tengri is the new Apple, and not having shares in the company in its infancy.

I decided to go with my gut and be Tengri’s first investor. I have no doubt it is the smartest financial decision I have ever made. My dream to open a store that sold only sustainable, environmentally friendly, ethically made, beautiful clothing from start to finish was almost impossible. I had all but given up hope and then I came across Tengri.

Shaping my future

I have no doubt that down the road, I’ll have my dream store, because the day will come when I can fill it with Tengri products, and it won’t be limited to clothing, because Nancy has a vision for the fibres that other companies write off as waste. Best of all, it will fulfil my bigger dream of helping others and being a part of a larger social movement, which is at the heart of what Tengri is all about. My investment is not just in Nancy. It is an investment in our collective future, spearheaded by an amazing woman. 

I’m proud to be part of Tengri’s history by being its first customer and now investor, and invite many others to join me by becoming a customer or an investor – or, as in my case, both! I may not spend any more time on Twitter, but thank you Twitter for your life-changing suggestion.

Susanne and Nancy

Join us for a night of music, art, fashion and creativity

The Century Club, 61-63 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 6LQ

19th December, 19:00-22:00

Join us at the bookabeat Christmas party – celebrating originality, creativity, social empowerment and sustainable fashion. Centred on Women Supporting Women in Business, the evening will present two women in fashion, artist Diane Goldie and Nancy Johnston, founder of Tengri. The night will showcase fashion, art and live performances from Vince Kidd, and Heidi Vogel from Cinematic Orchestra.

The evening includes a live auction of two wearable works of art, both bearing the unique signature designs and hand-craftsmanship of Diane Goldie. Carefully created with applique, embroidery and hand-painted accents, the wearable works of arts are crafted in Tengri’s most precious fabric, made exclusively of fibres of a rare breed of semi-wild yaks in Mongolia with a natural platinum colouring. Sourced by nomadic herders who hand-comb the yaks once a year, when the animals shed their winter coats, only 60 metres of this exclusive fabric is available annually. All proceeds from the auctioned pieces will go to Women for Women International, a London-based charity that helps women survivors of war rebuild their lives.

Join the festive celebrations by booking your ticket here.

How can we change the world?

Meet design and lifestyle pioneer, Marc Péridis,  founder and creative director of 19 greek street. Marc joined the Tengri team in Mongolia’s Khangai Mountains, living with nomadic yak herder families in a bid to better understand how Tengri noble yarns support the country’s land, animals and communities.

Marc is no stranger to travelling to far-flung places. Originally from Canada, and currently dividing his time between Barcelona and London, he lives a jet-setting life for work and pleasure. But even for an experienced globetrotter, Mongolia can be a challenging destination, especially when experiencing first-hand the daily life of nomadic yak herder families in the very remote Khangai Mountains. Up for the challenge, Marc endured long journeys over rough terrain and apparently endless roads, with no running water, and this open-minded vegetarian gracefully lived off the limited daily meal options of meat and dairy, embracing a nomadic and sustainable way of living.

Marc Péridis with Nancy Johnston (Tengri CEO & Founder) wearing Gaiscíoch Scarf and standing among a herd of yaks in the Khangai Mountains, western Mongolia.

Marc Péridis with Nancy Johnston (Tengri CEO & Founder) wearing Gaiscíoch Scarf and standing among a herd of yaks in the Khangai Mountains, western Mongolia.

Marc travelled with Nancy and photographer and film editor duo, Josh and Luke Exell, to participate in the Mongolian Yak Festival, a celebration of community collaboration. This was an opportunity not to be missed and Marc, being passionate about sustainability, could witness first-hand the trust and partnership that Tengri has very quickly established for the supply of its Mongolian Khangai noble yarns.

The production of these yarns, from yak fibre, offers nomadic herders a sustainable way to preserve their traditional way of life. Yak fibre is an environmentally friendly alternative to cashmere – which is often produced by over-intensive grazing that damages the land – and so the humble yak plays an essential role in protecting Mongolia’s rangelands.

The harsh conditions were soon forgotten amid the beauty of the landscape, the generosity of the people and the amazing celebrations of the world-famous Nadaam festivals.
 

Yaks are an indigenous wild species in Mongolia. They play an important role in protecting the rangelands in Mongolia, allowing biodiversity and other wild animals to thrive.

Yaks are an indigenous wild species in Mongolia. They play an important role in protecting the rangelands in Mongolia, allowing biodiversity and other wild animals to thrive.

Herders milk their animals twice a day in the morning and at dusk. Yak fibres are only available once a year by hand-combing when the animals shed their winter coats in the spring.

Nomadic herder families are stewards of the land and go to great lengths for the care of their animals. Their livelihoods and traditional way of life are dependent on the delicate relationship with the land and their animals.

Among Marc’s many memorable experiences, taking part in the Tengri fashion show, which was organised as part of the celebrations, as well as presenting Tengri’s capsule collection, was certainly a surprise. Marc happily joined the cast of models scouted from the local herder community in the steppes and fellow travellers, including American cyclist, Aaron Glick (pictured far right).

Marc Péridis backstage, preparing with Nancy for the Tengri fashion runway in Mongolia

Marc Péridis backstage, preparing with Nancy for the Tengri fashion runway in Mongolia

 Marc’s passion is exuded through 19 greek street, aimed at showcasing beautiful and unique design, working collaboratively with creative people, and offering people a way to feel and do good through better-informed consumer choices. This approach matches Tengri’s philosophy.

19 greek street has been a hub of creativity and exchange since its inception. A new exhibition, The Art of Progress, coincided with the 2015 London Design Festival, enabling people to share, talk, question and experience the space, objects and creative process. “This exhibition is about showing people different ways they can feel better, live better, and leave a better imprint on the world,” says Marc.

When Nancy and Marc started talking about collaborating for the London Design Festival, it was clear that both founders had a similar ethos in their design approach: a respect for people, craftsmanship, beautifully designed pieces made without harming people, animals or the environment. A decision was quickly reached.

Presented by 19 greek street, Tengri was one of the proud partners associated with Art of Progress, joining forces to form a wider collective movement that kicked off during London Design Festival in September 2015.

Art of Progress installation during London Design Festival, featuring Tengri ‘Rider’ sweater and throw.

Art of Progress installation during London Design Festival, featuring Tengri ‘Rider’ sweater and throw.

Photography by Josh Exell and 19 Greek St. © Tengri Ltd.

Tengri at this year’s Mongolia Yak Festival

Knowing our founder’s enthusiasm for anything that involves climbing a mountain, or riding a bike – in the urban jungle or off the beaten track in Scotland – it’s no surprise that Tengri fashion shows don’t usually involve comfy seats, a glass of champagne and air conditioning.

That’s why the new capsule collection of knitwear, created with 100% Mongolian Khangai noble yarns, was unveiled in Mongolia during the Yak Festival, to coincide with the world-famous Nadaam festivals held every July.

We are honoured that Tengri was invited to be part of the Mongolia Yak Festival, a celebration of community collaboration. This event was organised by the Arkhangai local government and Arkhangai Federation of Pasture User Groups, with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Jambaldorj Sorsor, Director of Arkhangai Federation of Pasture User Groups, commented: “The Yak Festival honours a creature integral to our livelihoods and this year we celebrate the growth and support of herder families involved in our co-operatives, enabled by an international partnership established with Tengri.”

This new collection, following the ‘Warrior’ Collection of 2014, highlights the profound importance of the relationships between nomadic herders, animals and the land in Mongolia.

Joining an international cast of riders from Britain and America, the catwalk show featured Mongolian models scouted from local herder families in the run-up to the festival. Challenging weather conditions did not stop anyone from putting on a fantastic show and the local community enjoying it.

Tengri models pose for a picture backstage with Nancy, Tengri founder (3rd from left) before the show.

Tengri models pose for a picture backstage with Nancy, Tengri founder (3rd from left) before the show.

The show previewed pieces from Tengri’s new Autumn/Winter ‘Rider’ Collection, which will launch later this year. The capsule collection demonstrates simple classic cuts, which are utilitarian in style, unisex and easy to wear.

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Inspired by the spirit of the ‘Rider’ – evoking a sense of adventure and journeys to distant and unfamiliar terrain – it’s no surprise an expedition of fellow riders from Tumbleweedbikes rolled up on fatbikes and converged at this remote spot. American riders, Daniel, Jay and Aaron, were joined by British rider, Cass Gilbert, an avid cyclist, adventure-travel journalist and regular contributor to SidetrackedCrankedMountain Flyer and Boneshaker magazines. Like us, these guys love the idea of an adventurous trek, new destinations, freedom of movement and the challenges offered by the trail. We even persuaded Aaron to model our collection.

American cyclist, Aaron Glick, models items from Tengri everyday essentials.

American cyclist, Aaron Glick, models items from Tengri everyday essentials.

Designed by Nancy Johnston, Tengri’s founder, together with in-house designer Carlo Volpi, as well as textile and fashion students from Heriot-Watt university, the garments will be made in Scotland and London, where quality craftsmanship and technological innovation add new value to Mongolian Khangai noble yarns.

Meet Tengri at the London Design Festival this Summer

If you would like to discover more about Tengri yak fibre and textiles, come and meet us during the London Design Festival from 19 to 27 September. We will be showcasing the works of designers and artisanal makers who work with yak fibre, in collaboration with 19 Greek Street.

Behind the label - part 1: a journey from Mongolia to Scotland

Nancy Johnston, CEO and Founder of Tengri, spent 10 days in Mongolia in June sourcing this year’s supply of yak fibres, which will create ‘The Rider Collection’, due this autumn/winter 2015. 
Tengri aims to bring the unique qualities of Mongolian yak fibre to the forefront of the design, textile and fashion industries through fairshare business, creating garments and yarn to help improve Mongolian nomadic herders’ livelihoods and protect the country’s beautiful landscape.
Nancy talks about her latest journey and experiences in Mongolia.

Read More

What purpose and passion do you have?

Brand ambassador, Deri Llewellyn-Davies, takes on Everest

There aren’t many entrepreneurial men who spend their days in a pinstripe suit and their spare time climbing the world’s highest summits – all while using their business to do good. Deri Llewellyn-Davies has been a committed adventurer for the past ten years. Having climbed five of the world’s highest seven mountains, completed the infamous Marathon des sables across the desert and the Epic Ironman, he also happens to be a best-selling author of Life’s Great Adventure and winner of the 2013 Global Angel Award for putting his compassion into action, volunteering his time, energy, skills and money to do good. 

Deri at Everest base camp wearing pieces from the Tengri Warrior collection: Gloves, Beanie, handknitted Pixane sweater.

Deri at Everest base camp wearing pieces from the Tengri Warrior collection: Gloves, Beanie, handknitted Pixane sweater.

Working with passion and purpose

Deri’s mission to take on Everest was part of a dream and ten years of planning to achieve. His goal was both a personal challenge and a social one: aiming to help the Sherpa community which in 2014 suffered a tragic loss of 18 men. With Neal Laughton leading the team, they attempted to set the world-record for the highest-altitude black-tie dinner party, raising funds to support Community Action Nepal.

We were delighted when Deri agreed to field test our everyday sweaters, beanies, gloves and socks in one of the world’s most challenging environments – Mount Everest.

"It was incredibly soft and warm and a great luxury at base camp. It was also remarkably lightweight to wear." – Deri Llewellyn-Davies

While taking on Everest, the team was caught in the midst of Nepal’s recent deadly earthquake. “Man plans, God laughs,” says Deri. One can prepare as well as one can but nature will have the final say on the outcome. Listen to his amazing and humble account of how he survived this epic natural disaster.

What adventures have your passions and purpose taken you on? Let us know @tengriyakwear on Twitter.

Pembs TV interviewed the strategy man on his recent adventure of surviving Everest during the Nepal earthquake. The Strategy Man is the #1 Bestselling author of BGI Strategy on a Page. He is the acclaimed expert on business strategy for business owners in the UK.

Deri attempted to set the world-record for the highest-altitude black-tie dinner party, raising funds to support Community Action Nepal. He is WEARING THE BASIC BEANIE FROM THE TENGRI WARRIOR COLLECTION. © TENGRI LTD. PHOTO CREDIT: DERI Llewellyn-Davies. 

Deri attempted to set the world-record for the highest-altitude black-tie dinner party, raising funds to support Community Action Nepal.
He is WEARING THE BASIC BEANIE FROM THE TENGRI WARRIOR COLLECTION© TENGRI LTD. PHOTO CREDIT: DERI Llewellyn-Davies. 

PHOTO CREDIT: DERI Llewellyn-Davies 

PHOTO CREDIT: DERI Llewellyn-Davies 

PHOTO CREDIT: DERI Llewellyn-Davies 

PHOTO CREDIT: DERI Llewellyn-Davies 

Slideshow photos of Everest climb by Jon Maguire. © Tengri Ltd.

Attending the first ever RESP meeting

Nancy Johnston, Tengri's CEO & Founder, reflects on a significant meeting of minds to preserve natural capital.

I was thrilled to be invited to attend the first global meeting of the Responsible Ecosystems Sourcing Platform (RESP) at Burberry’s Global Headquarters in London in April. RESP is a non-profit and member-based organisation founded by some of the world’s top luxury brands.

How did I, a former charity worker, someone devoted to helping people, start a fledgling fashion brand and end up in the same room with some of the top global luxury fashion brands? I am still reflecting on this. 

More intriguingly, the event was not about luxury fashion (thank goodness!). The meeting was to discuss bio-diversity and land management issues – and their impact on people. Since I have dedicated my life’s work to helping people, I was struck to see how equally passionate attendees at this event were about preserving our natural capital. Yet equal to that passion was a feeling of frustration.

RESP2015.jpg

Part of the reason for Tengri’s invitation was to participate in the working stream that focuses on woollen fibres. Tengri started out as an idea to help Mongolian nomadic herders by directly purchasing yak fibres from cooperatives of herder families, set up with the support of the Swiss Development Agency for Cooperation (SDC). This NGO has supported greater democratisation and sustainable socio-economic development in Mongolia for the past 50 years.

With the amazing support of my friends and a wider network of caring people, I figured out how to go from purchasing the raw fibre directly, to processing it, spinning it into yarns, weaving it into fabrics, to working with designers, knitters, tailors and manufacturers and making clothes.

Many of the issues faced by premium and luxury brands are rooted in the supply chain. Problems include an inherent lack of transparency, honesty, integrity and traceability from the source of the raw materials to the fabric production before top fashion houses purchase it. 

How can fashion brands really be accountable when they can’t be sure what they are purchasing? And how can we create change and ensure what we buy doesn’t damage the earth, animals or people who live in it?

I think we all have a part to play.

In the case of cashmere, our desire for luxury softness fuels this much-desired fibre, driving demand to unsustainable levels. This results in other wild animals being killed – the ultimate "fashion victims”. Mongolia and China are the largest suppliers and producers of cashmere, yet cashmere goats have consumed as much as up to 95% of forage across the Tibetan plateau, Mongolia and India, leaving just 5% for wild animals. As much as 70% of Mongolia’s rangelands are at risk from permanent desertification

The knock-on effect of this desertification is infertile land, affecting the livelihoods and nomadic way of life of thousands of herder families in Mongolia.

While the work of RESP is still in its early stages, the meeting ended with concrete measures to work on traceability. Tengri was invited to participate in the international working group on wool fibres, to which we shall contribute with much energy and enthusiasm. 

It’s still early days, but as more than just a fashion label, we thank you for joining our journey and helping to be an active force for change.