Toirog - Fhrift fashion store Mongolia

Mongolian thrift shop – New values for the X-Y-Z generations

In downtown Ulaanbaatar, facing the one and only thrift shop of the city:
Agnuush gets out of the car wearing an unmissable flashy orange hat, all dressed in blue jeans and high heels. She orders coffee from next door and takes a seat in the shop opened two months ago. With 12.8k followers on Instagram, it seems like the shop has been there for ages—a teenager’s cavern full of treasures.

How pleasant it is to know that our surroundings are being given a second life, in a sense resurrected…

What makes this thrift shop so special and why did you start it?

One of the dangers of fast fashion is the threat toward water and waste. People who do second hand shopping don’t yet realize that it is also nurturing ecology and part of a contemporary culture. Thrift has to become a new trend to support those ideas. We collect previously beloved clothes and find them a new partner. It’s a matchmaking business. Since we are connecting with our customers through Instagram – our demographics community is very young. It’s for the better; The older generation is superstitious towards previously worn clothes.

Younger generation on the other hand is realizing the urgency of shifting their direction to more environmentally sustainable choices. After 2 decades these young people will be consciously teaching their kids to use and value second hand. That’s our main goal, to make second hand clothes a societal norm. Our store is always in the flow of love. The things that usually happen here are many hugs, laughters, a conversation that is quite deep, a lasting friendship and memories built on the way.

It’s important to raise awareness and show that using second hand clothes is also cool. We want to heal the gloomy Ulaanbaatar with our infinite flow of care and love.

Toirog - Thrift shop Ulaanbaatar

The previous generation doesn’t understand the second hand approach?

We have this superstition in Asia to not wear other people’s clothes. The older generation are used to thinking that clothes carry karma. I could get bad karma from the original owner, or I can give my good karma to others. There even was incidents of burning down mountains from people burning their clothes.

I don’t focus on the old generation because their mentality is already fixed. Their superstitions will stay. The youngsters are breaking those norms to become the new norm. Of course I am not responsible for changing their mentality, but I am trying to show them another reality.

Can you describe your impression of the new generation?

It’s exciting to see young life, fresh faces, open minded enthusiastic people who can feel the moment and live up to it! It’s an overwhelming feeling to be at the axis of different minds and dreams. Also I have noticed a lot of compassion from them. They definitely feel more. Their ability to sense, to feel, and to connect is on a different scale. It’s easy to talk with them, easy to get along.

Mongolian fashion thrift

What are the challenges of the new generation?

During the Soviet Union everyone knew their destiny. Government pretty much decided everything on behalf of everyone. Once graduated the job was ready. No such question like: What do I want, what is my passion, what do I feel on the inside, am I going in the right direction?

Now every young kid has a vast array of choices to choose from. Technology is affecting social norms and it’s becoming harder for the young generation to adapt to the speed. But I do have a huge faith in them. They are just incredible people growing up to create our future. That’s what I like to believe in.

You are also upcycling some clothes, transform denim to handbag… How did it come about?

That came up naturally. After collecting all the donations in the form of used items, we sort the real waste from it. Some things we receive come in a condition that is really impossible to sell. So these wastes become the materials for our TOIROГ merch.

We upcycle it, we use it, and we reduce the waste. When I see four jeans becoming a well made bag I get tons of excitement from it. I always think “Oh wow it would’ve been laying on a waste, now someone can use it!”

TOIROГ (pronunced “Toirog”) is a Mongolian word meaning circle. The concept is open to any meaningful collaborations. A word to the wise…

Reach it on: Instagram, Facebook

Location: Find it here

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday | 11AM to 21PM

Prices: Cheap (oh yeah!)

Written: Adrien de Ville

Review: Gregory Greif

Thanks: Agnuush