Rare Dirndl Design Studio
September is very important month in Southern Germany and has also become a busy and fun-filled time of year in the Chicago German community! September is when Munich celebrates Oktoberfest and when Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood celebrates German Day and the Stueben Parade. If you are looking for a traditional German style outfit to wear to these events that is also fresh, modern and edgy … then you need to check out Rare Dirndl! This small business started in 2010 with a 12 piece collection of dirndls designed by Chicago native, Erika Neumayer, and has since grown into multiple collections of dirndls, menswear, German inspired accessories, and even bridal dirndls!
She started this contemporary dirndl line after she graduated with her BA in apparel design and was unsatisfied with the dirndl styles that were available to her in the US. As an active member of the American Aid Society of German Descendents, a Chicago based German Club, she was very familiar with the traditional German dress known as a dirndl and knew she could use her talents to create something fresh and new. “I started with a few designs and made all the pieces myself. I worked out of my parents dining room and eventually I expanded into the living room, basement, bedroom and shed, that’s when I knew it was time to move into my own studio!” She moved into her own design studio (5051 N. Lincoln Ave.) in 2012 and the business has continued to grow.
What makes her dirndls so different? “I use modern textiles, new silhouettes and unique trims and textures. I love to mix the traditional German styles with contemporary American street style,” Erika says. In addition, everything is made in the U.S.A. “I design and create the first samples myself, and I have 3-10 of each style made to those specifications within 15 miles of the studio! I’m very passionate about keeping production local and my designs exclusive.”
The Rare Dirndl Design Studio will be open Saturday, September 6 and Sunday, September 7 from 4-7 p.m. to celebrate the German Day Fest. If you want to see more from Rare Dirndl including behind the scenes photos, fun videos and interesting German articles be sure to look for Rare Dirndl on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube!
When asked, “Why don’t you design regular clothes?” Erika simply replied, “There is nothing I would rather be creating. Designing dirndls allows me to push myself creatively and be involved in the fashion industry and the German community!”
You can check out all of her designs on the Rare Dirndl website, www.raredirndl.com. Or stop by and visit Rare Dirndl Design Studio at Vintage Deutsch at the DANK Haus, Thursday, September 7, 7:00 p.m.