Friday, May 31, 2013

Sample Sale Explained!

Tomorrow is the first day of the Maifest Sample Sale and I've already had a few questions that keep popping up. So lets answer them!

Q: "Can I buy the samples online? / Will the Sale be online as well?"
A: Unfortunately the samples will not be available online and here is why...

Q: "What is a sample?"
A: A sample is the first dirndl style made for a collection. When I designed S/S 2013 I made 8 new pieces. Those pieces are the samples. They are used as guides during production, for photo shoots, fashion shows, advertising, promotional events and window displays. I typically make a size 4, but I have some samples that are a 6 and 12.

My sister and I wearing some samples to promote the F/W 2012 Collection at the AAS Schlachtfest
I can't sell them at their reduced price online for a few reasons.
       1) Some of the samples have some wear-and-tear to them. I don't want you to buy it online and then not be happy with certain aspects of the dirndl that are imperfect.
       2) Some of the samples have been altered to fit models. For promotional events when I have models wear the dirndls, sometimes the samples need to be taken in or out in order to fit them.
       3) A lot of the samples are dirndls that are discontinued. The dirndls are not even on the website at the moment because they are discontinued and no longer available.

I Love Lucy Sample Dirndl being worn during a fashion show
Q: "I don't live in Chicago, does that mean I can't take advantage of the sale? I really wanted a dirndl"
A: There will be an online promotion announced later today, but if you are a size 4-8 and you are interested in a sample dirndl, shoot me an e-mail ( or give me a call (312-806-5099) And you can order one of them over the phone. This way I can talk to you about the specific details of the sample, the wear-and-tear, any spots, sun damage, fit issues, etc.

Still have questions? Shoot me an email or give me a ring-a-ling! I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have. Happy Maifesting!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Let's Hear it for the Boys!

In Detail: Menswear

Turquoise Plaid Trachtenhemd
After my first 2 collections were released, the most commonly asked questions was, "are you going to design men's clothes too?" So in 2011, I started making menswear... primarily trachtenhemden, or traditionally inspired shirts. Lets dive right in and see how a shirt comes together.

One of the things about men's shirts that's funny, is that it takes just as much fabric to make a man's shirt (if not more) as it does to make a dirndl. The difference is the time it takes to sew. Men's shirts take approximately 1.75 yards of fabric, more if it's a plaid. Plaids need to be placed very strategically in order to create the right look so the stripes line up and match! Sometimes, I incorporate two fabrics to create a very unique look that has a bit of contrast to it, like the black accents on the Turquoise Plaid Trachtenhemd.

Laying out the pattern for a new shirt

Then its time to add the fusible interfacing. Fusible is a reinforcement fabric that is fused or melted to the shirt fabric. It makes it stiffer and more durable. The fusible is added to areas of the shirt that need more structure like the collar and under collar as well as places where there are buttons, like the pockets, center front, and cuffs.

Then its time to sew it up! Some of the details in my menswear, like the roll up sleeves, front button flaps or shoulder accents are what take extra time and make Rare Menswear special. Its also about the design. When designing a menswear piece I always keep in mind certain things that I know my customer is looking for. What does the average American tracht-wearing man want in a shirt? Comfort, ease, tradition and individuality.

Almost finished sewing a new sample
I am very aware that my menswear is expensive, but there are details in them that you simply won't find on other trachtenshirts. I'm most proud of the fact that while they are indeed trachtenshirts, sporting edelweiss buttons, traditional embroideries and classic cuts, they are completely wearable outside of an Oktoberfest. Most of my shirts wouldn't look out of place at a concert, cousin Stefan's birthday or out running errands.

Designing Trachten menswear can be a challenge, but it pushes me to think more creatively. I'm also very proud to say that at the M√ľnchener Trachtentage, Rare Dirndl, hands down, had the most interesting menswear.

Thats all folks... If you are interested in seeing all my menswear designs, click here and see what I've got!

Ever wonder what dirndl style you are? 
Take our dirndl quiz and find out! Simply type in your email here  

German Life: Dirndls on Demand

Have you seen the April/May 2013 issue of German Life Magazine? German Life, "a bi-monthly magazine written for all interested in the diversity of German culture, past and preset, and in the various ways the North America has been shaped by its German element", featured Rare Dirndl in the article "Dirndls on Demand"!

Mark Meier's article about Dirndls made in the USA features both traditional style dirndls using imported German fabrics by Bergland Trachten and Rare Dirndls... pushing the boundaries and creating high fashion dirndls!

The article features images from the Spring/Summer 2013 Down the Rabbit Hole Collection as well as pictures of me working in the my studio! I'm beyond honored to be quoted in the article and be referenced as America's haute-couture dirndl designer!

Check out the article for yourself on the German Life website or get a subscription for yourself! Its a great magazine that I always look forward to reading!

Ever wonder what dirndl style you are? 
Take our dirndl quiz and find out! Simply type in your email here