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Designers of an African Dirndl hope it'll be the next big thing at Germany's Oktoberfest beer festival

posted 9 Sept 2010, 07:17 by Mpelembe

Two designers from Cameroon designed for the famous German beer-festival Oktoberfest a traditional Bavarian dress known as dirndl, but with an African twist

MUNICH, GERMANY (SEPTEMBER 8, 2010)  REUTERS - What better way to bring together the traditions of Africa with those of southern Germany than a traditional Dirndl dress made of original African material. This is the reason behind the creation of two sister designers in the Bavarian city of Munich.

Designers Rahmee Wetterich and Marie Darouiche may speak fluent German but their roots lie in the African country of Cameroon from where they came more than 30 years ago. It's their love of both fashion, and Germany's traditional Oktoberfest beer festival which unites the two.

And with just about a week and a half to go until the first beer is pulled at the Bavarian festival, the pair have created a line of traditional dresses know as dirndls which also mirror African traditions.

It all began when Marie draped herself in the colourful material which she bought at an African market in Paris and turned it into a dirndl. Just at that time, Anne Jansen was in the Galerie Noh Nee where the sisters work, and fell in love the the prototype dirndl a la Africaine. The idea was soon to evolve into something unique.

"The special thing about the material which has inspired us is that it is the same material as that worn by ladies in Africa," explains designer Rahmee Wetterich. "We were fascinated by the fact that you could completely change this situation and make a Bavarian dirndl out of it which looks really great."

The two material experts continued to improve and refine their dirndl creations by sewing shells into the neckline and adding what can only be described as explosions of colour, to the traditional aprons. And it is this originality which drew Anne Jansen to the dresses.

"I think that the colours and the material are really special. There are many people who make dirndls with glitter and the likes but I think these materials are just so beautiful. They also transfer well to the tradition of the dirndl. I really like this," she told Reuters TV.

At some point the two designers also hope to put their dirndls onto the African market because, as Wetterich explains, "The whole thing is a homage to the African woman."

Until then the dirndl dresses can be tried on at the Munich Noh Nee Galerie, where there are selling for prices from 750 euro (950 US dollars). And for that price, a woman in Germany will have something unique, perhaps only also worn, but in a different form, by a woman in Africa.