Dirndl Fashionshow in Munich

The lovely US American dirndl designer Erika Neumayer shares her experiences at the Trachtentage in Munich, Germany. Let's see what she has to say.

Erika Neumayer at Dirndl Trachtentage

The dirndl has increased in popularity over the past 10 years and it doesn't look like the trend is going away any time soon!

Designers all over Germany and Austria are taking the dirndl designs to the next level and I'm doing the same in America. When I started Rare Dirndl in 2010, I did a lot of research as to what is available in the US versus Germany, what kinds of designs were popular, etc.

But it wasn't until my experience at the Münchener Trachtentage that I fully understood the difference between what Americans are looking for in a dirndl and what Germans are looking for in the same dress.

In March of 2013, I was invited to be an Aussteller (exhibitor) at the First Münchener Trachtentage. Everyone who came to visit the booth was very surprised to see an American selling dirndls.

Erika Neumayer at Dirndl Trachtentage

I can't even begin to count how many times I heard, "You're American!?! But Erika Neumayer is such a German name!" Overall, most people were impressed by my designs and the fact that Americans also embrace the traditional dress of Bavaria. Although most people were more intrigued by the fact that I was an American, others had strong opinions about my designs.

While feeling the fabrics, one couple stated, "natürlich chinesischer Stoff" (of course Chinese fabric). However when I went on to explain to them that all the dirndls on the racks came out of the suitcase like this, with no ironing needed, they were a bit more impressed with my "Chinese fabrics" (and just a side note, that particular fabric came from Canada, haha).

For the most part people were receptive to my designs, but made a very good point stating, "Why would I buy a dirndl made in the USA when I can buy one made in Munich?"


Many of the other exhibitors were excited to learn that there was a market in the US for dirndls and impressed that I had made a successful business out of it. I met so many great people and got to meet many of the German designers that I have been looking up to for years.

Erika Neumayer at Dirndl Trachtentage

The fashion show was, hands down, the most exciting part of the weekend. In Chicago, there are not many opportunities for me to participate in professional fashion shows... so seeing my work walk down the runway was exhilarating!

The bright colors and fun prints looked great on the runway and the crowd responded well to the pieces. You certainly couldn't point out the "American" dirndl when it was on the runway.

Although our sales consisted mostly of Lederhosen bracelets, the experience was worth the trip! The German dirndl market is worlds apart from the American market, but now I can say that I've dabbled in both.

My primary observation regarding differences between the German and the American Dirndl Market is that fact that Germans want the dresses made of natural fibers; wool, silk or cotton, while Americans simply want their dirndl to be wrinkle free and if a polyester is going to get them away from the ironing board they're all for it!

Germans also wear dirndls all year long, so having a long, wool winter dress is important. However, Americans really only wear them in the summer months, so they prefer lighter-weight dirndls. With this in mind, I focus all my efforts on designing and creating pieces for Rare Dirndl that are fresh, modern, edgy and that the American market will enjoy!

No matter if you are from Bavaria or America a dirndl is a garment that not only makes you feel confident and sexy, but also shows pride in your heritage. After all my research I have just one thing to say... the dirndl is here to stay!

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