Many people have asked me, many time… “What are you doing now?” After graduating from Dominican University with a degree with distinction in apparel design, traveled to Paris to study couture techniques and when i came home, i decided that i was going to go for it… start a fashion line. I had interned with a small chicago based line, evil kitty, in 2008 and attended the business of fashion seminars presented by the apparel industry board, so i knew what i was in for… kinda. Advise that i had heard was “do it while your young and ambitious because once you know what it takes, you won’t want to do it”. I didn’t know whether this was supposed to discourage or encourage me, but i took it as inspiration.
In January, i started a business, Erika Neumayer Designs. This is the umbrella business that covers the dirndl line and any other lines i may start in the future. The first line is called Rare. It is a german folk costume line with a twist. I noticed that many german dirndl companies were clearly surpassing the US dirndl companies in terms of style and innovation and i wanted to be at that competitive level. I’m using different fabrics and textures that are not seen in the American market. My line is not covered in little flowers and edelweiss embroidery, its big, bold and unique. I am aware that this line is not for everyone, but if it was, no one would stand out. A Rare dirndl is not your oma’s dirndl.
But what does “starting a fashion line” mean? It means that i am like any other company that sells their product to stores except i have my own online store. I designed a 10 piece collection which includes 1 couture dirndl, 7 sale able dirndls, a vest and skirt, as well as a vest and shorts. After the designs were finalized, i bought the fabrics and supplies, made all the patterns and i am currently working on the samples. Once the samples are complete, i will have a photo shoot with professional models, photographer and hair and makeup stylists. Those photos will go on the website where anyone can access them and then you can purchase the garments from the website…. which will be launched in April.
There is so much other business, design and promo stuff that goes into it all, but that is what i am doing in a nutshell.