Dirndls are a Oktoberfest staple and are also one of the most recognizable images American’s associate with Germans. If you have gone to any Oktoberfest here in the States, you probably have a picture in your mind on how all these dirndls look… Fairly plain dresses with little flowers and edelweiss embroidery. Erika Neumayer, a German-American fashion designer born in Chicago, saw how far behind the American dirndl market was and decided that she could offer a bold and unique twist on the clothing that just hasn’t been seen in America.
After graduating with a degree in fashion design from Dominican University in 2009, Erika had several design awards under her belt and started to receive requests for dirndls. During her time as a student studying fashion, she had designed an award-winning collection of trachten for the American Aid Society of German Descendants Jugendgruppe. In 2008, the AAS Jugendgruppe won first place prize at the Trachtenfest in Cleveland, Ohio. Her take on the traditional German clothing sparked a lot of interest and in 2010 Erika Neumayer started the Rare Dirndl line.
Every design in the Rare line is truly unique and will make anyone wearing them stand out among the traditional dirndl wearing crowds at festivals. All of the designs can be purchased online and “combine fashion forward fabrics with traditional dirndls silhouettes,” Erika said in a statement to German Pulse. “They are all made in Chicago and most include hours of handwork done only by me.” Shortly after the success of her 2010 line, Rare began receiving requests for menswear and since 2011 all of the Rare collections now include both men’s and women’s trachtenwear.
This June, Rare will be opening their first physical storefront in the historical Lincoln Square neighborhood in Chicago and will also be selling items at German Fest Milwaukee. We recommend checking out Erika’s many designs as words can’t fully describe what she is creating. The Leopard dirndl and Sunflower dirndl are among her bestselling items and custom designs are also an option for those who really want something special. There is something for everyone and the variety of price points makes Rare Trachtenwear attainable under any budget.
Check out www.erikaneumayer.com to see all she has to offer. We have also included some of her designs below…