However, these old-fashioned peasant outfits are not to everyone’s taste, and a young designer from Graz is setting a fashion-trend of her own by introducing contemporary Tracht.
The new brand called Wülde-Hoamat, which means Fierce Homeland, takes the traditional outfits and combines them with eccentric skull designs. Alexandra Schuster and her boyfriend Bernd Wippel opened the business to make Tracht fun and wearable for young people.
Schuster (29) told The Local how the idea was born: “Bernd is part of a club in the south of Graz where traditionally men wear Lederhosen. It has always angered him, as he has a lot of tattoos, that there weren’t appropriate lederhosen for him – something he would feel comfortable in. So we just decided if it doesn’t exist, let’s create it. Let’s do something individual that will appeal to younger people.”
Alexandra always dreamed of having a creative job but decided to become a primary school teacher instead. She is just about to graduate but is finally living her dream and now compares herself to one of the most eccentric and creative designers of our time.
“I’m following in the footsteps of Vivienne Westwood. I know this sounds very pompous but Vivienne also started as a teacher and look where she is now,” she said, laughing.
Rockabilly and skulls
Although Tracht in the traditional sense is booming at the moment in Austria and Germany, it seems unlikely that the rest of the world will catch on to this fashion trend.
But Wülde-Hoamat, with a strong social media following and over 6,000 fans on Facebook, is trying to change that by putting a twist on the style.
All garments have a characteristic tattoo style with fabrics imported from the United Kingdom. In addition, all Dirndls (which historically used to be a maid's outfit), are cut in a rockabilly style to add a modern touch.
“We use this type of design so that young people all over the world can understand and relate to our pieces – not just people here in German speaking countries,” Alexandra said.
In America and Britain Dirndls tend to only be worn on Halloween or to a The Sound of Music fancy dress party, as a homage to the character Maria.
“Putting skulls on our Dirndl aprons is fun because the nationalist origin, which may be offputting to some people, is completely challenged,” Alexandra explained.
The most rewarding part of the couple’s business is to see satisfied customers, most of whom are young couples, raving about their designs online.
Only time will tell if the trend will catch on overseas and if the likes of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian will be showcasing the Wülde-Hoamat designs at next year’s Oktoberfest.
By Hannah Brandstaetter
Photo: Mario Zach