"Ethno fashion is always trendy" - Katharina Koppenwallner on her love of traditional costumes


The dream of stylist Katharina Koppenwallner is to be able to offer at some point the most beautiful costumes and textiles from all over the world, which are known for their folk art and costumes. Her next trip will take her to Bolivia. Your shop International Wardrobe (Almstadtstraße 50, 10119 Berlin) is open from 12pm to 8pm on Thursdays to Saturdays.

© Katharina Koppenwallner

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde: How did you come up with the idea of ​​collecting and selling folkloric fashion?

Katharina Koppenwallner: A few years ago, I was looking for a particular blouse from Romania and nowhere to be found in Germany. So I set myself up? and next to the blouse many other great textiles tracked down. With International Wardrobe I want to close the gap between the fashion museum and the dump? Handmade folklore fashion can only be found today in galleries or in the back corner of a second hand shop.

How do you decide which countries you travel to and how do you find the parts?

I consciously drive to areas where costumes are still worn. So before the trip, there is always a lot to research. In the countries where costumes play a role in everyday life, a lot is discovered on the spot. Romanian peasant women, for example, still wear old national costumes every day, and in China too, many women walk around in their traditional robes all day long? and combine some with current fashion. I drive to small places, visit markets and ask myself. I address the women and go home with them, where they present the most beautiful textiles to me.

Who makes the costumes?

Unfortunately, not many people dominate traditional textile art anymore. For example, I get blouses from seamstresses from Romania, where the youngest employee is 60 years old. These are often farm women who work in the fields in the summer and have time to sew and embroider in the winter.

How is it that costumes from different parts of the world are sometimes very similar?

For many people, the motifs revolve around nature, animals and plants. In addition, the way that you embroider is often similar. Especially traveling people used to use the same looms that are simply wrapped around a tree.

What is your favorite dress?

I love the Hungarian costume from Transylvania, these are pleated pink skirts with light blue aprons with floral pattern. The Hungarian women wear blouses with big club sleeves and cardigans.

At the moment Ethno-Mode is very popular again? how do you explain this trend?

Ethno fashion is always trendy! In the beginning, I was still trying to figure out whether, for example, African patterns or ikat prints are the norm, but actually neither of them really never disappears. It's like sportswear, it's always there. In addition, people like traditional as well as universal patterns.

How wearable is folkloric fashion?

Costumes are very elegant in a certain way? Far from the usual fashion aesthetics. Everyone can take on this elegance a bit. A Yao jacket in beautiful indigo, for example, goes great with jeans with a plain white shirt - that's how they wear the Jao men, by the way.

Should I buy an original?

Counterfeit parts of the fashion discounter are often too lovely, the real costume is much more authentic. You will never like a mass-produced blouse as much as a hand-embroidered blouse that is unique. These elaborate pieces have a soul and a completely different feel. The fabrics are much better and the details more special.

Traditional fashion at International Wardrobe

100 Years of Beauty - Poland (June 2021).

Traditional costumes, Romania, Germany, international wardrobe, costumes, folklore, Katharina Koppenwallner