If you had inquired about the fastest growing profession in Munich a decade ago, then the best answer would have pointed towards a musician, engineer or other such illustrious career paths. There would have no mention of a Dirndl designer in any of answers. Fast forward ten years and the good ol’ vintage styling is back with a bang. In case you are wondering what we are talking about, then Dirndl is your answer. Now, this recent outbreak in its popularity is all credit to the Oktoberfest, which we will be covering in more detail but for now, we will be briefly going over the rise, fall and rise again of the traditional Bavarian attire. Long considered as the work clothes of an older/conservative generation, the signature dress of the Alpine region of Austria and Bavaria has become a widely acclaimed dress-to-wear in modern iterations of the Oktoberfest. ‘A decade ago, we used to see people attending Oktoberfest in Jeans and casual clothes with no Dirndl or Lederhosen insights’ said a Munich native. According to the citizens, the perception regarding traditional clothing and ambiance has changed drastically. Where we were used to seeing people in denims, the recent editions of Oktoberfest will paint a picture of the Victorian era. With males sporting lederhosen and ladies rocking Dirndls, plenty of locally brewed beer; the scenes look reminiscent of old times.
Strangely enough, this new seasonal trend has plenty of admirers. As per some designers and ethnologists, Dirndls are more than just your average attire. Considering the rapidly fading norms and cultural values courtesy of the encroachments of globalization, many experts believe that the younger generations are turning a new leaf to preserve, cherish and relish their cultural norms. As per some reports and observations, it has now become a standard for every Bavarian to have at least one set of traditional clothing in their wardrobe. Though there are no associations which could keep track of the numbers in this industry, one of the largest manufacturers of traditional Bavarian clothing hinted towards exponential growth in business. In an interview with NYTimes, the spokesperson remarked that they sold more than 16,000 Dirndls in a single year,
In more ways than one, the symbolism of the Bavarian dresses hasn’t changed much over the years. The first documented sighting of this dress occurred back in the 1800s in the rural regions of Bavaria and Austria. in the 20th century, many variants of these dresses were introduced into Munich’s fashion sense as a leisure wear for the wealthy. However, this popularity was short-lived as right after the second world war people rejected this style of clothing citing its association with Nazi circles. The time, blissfully ignorant of the good’s or wrongs of humanity moved on and with it came back the patience in masses which has washed away this stigma. For some, traditional dresses hold very special value which is why they prefer wearing these dresses on happy occasions, a birthday, celebrations in the church; or whenever a chance comes up to make happy memories.
It is pertinent to mention that the Dirndl saw a revival back in 1972 Munich Olympics when the hostesses were wearing Dirndls as the official uniform. Sad as it might be, there are always the naysayers, as is the nature of human being. Even today not everyone is open to the idea of Dirndl or Lederhosen in Munich. As per several reports, some areas near the main train station has become a no-go area for the people dressed in any traditional Bavarian clothing. The fact of rising popularity can’t be denied. Add in the Oktoberfest and its rapidly growing attendees willing to buy these traditional clothes; the picture for Dirndls and Lederhosen is pretty good. Last but not the least, the surging demand has also grabbed the attention of several manufacturers, which has brought mass production into this equation. So if you are worried about not getting a run-of-the-mill Dirndl or lederhosen, then worries not there are multiple solutions for your concerns. Experts cite that this market and product expansion is a good thing because not everyone can afford a designer or tailored lederhosen, so it helps to introduce this genre of clothing to a younger audience with limited money, and once they have a stable job, they buy higher-end products. Thus sustaining and nurturing this tradition.