We’re Taking the Rare Dirndl Show on the Road!

Rare Dirndl Road Trip After 2 fabulous weekends in Milwaukee, it’s time to take this show on the road! We’re road tripping with the dirndls all the way to California! Starting Monday (so yesterday) me, my parents, 88 dirndls, countless accessories, 70+ blouses, 30 mens shirts and Ilsa the traveling cow left for the Donauschwaben Landestreffen in Los Angeles California.

Ilsa the traveling huh - rare dirndl

Follow our journey from Chicago to LA on Instagram using #RareDirndlontheRoad and #IlsaTheTravelingKuh to see the places we stop at on our way.


The first scheduled overnight stop is near St. Louis, MO. Then we are off to Amarillo, TXbigtexan Next stop is Lake Havasu City, AZ mlhi And then finally to LA for the treffen!2009_Detroit_Trachtenfest-290 I’m so excited to see all our Donauschwaben freunden from all over the country and we hope you enjoy out little road trip pictures along the way. If you are going to the fest, be sure to stop by our pop-up boutique at the Phenix club Saturday and Sunday!

Shark Week – Ooo HAHA!

Oh boy!! It’s the most wonderful time of the year… when I get to stream Discovery Channel 24/7 while making dirndls, because it’s SHARK WEEK (about a month earlier than usual, but that’s ok!)Shark Week Dirndl Sale I like to celebrate shark week with themed specials all week! So here’s the special programming for the week: MONDAY: Return of the Great White Serial Killer is on at 9pm and starting at 9am we’re kicking off the Great White Blouse Sale! 35% off in stock Sweetheart Blouses! Use coupon code: SHARKWEEK15 at checkout to get 35% off! Great White Blouse Sale dirndl_shark TUESDAY: Bride of Jaws is on at 9pm and I’ll be featuring a sneak peek at a white, silver and blue bridal dirndl i’ve been working on, on Instagram. WEDNESDAY: At 10pm, Ninja Sharks is on and the Shark Week Apron get’s a little feature-roonie on Facebook. Click here to special order yours! Plus there is a special sharky edition of the Wednesday Witz. THURSDAY: Shark Planet is on at 9pm and I’ve added a special Shark Week Edelweiss Wrap Bracelet Duo to the website! Check Facebook for the link! FRIDAY: At 9pm Sharks of the Shadowland premiers and at 3pm I’m going to do my first Live Periscope Broadcast (@RareDirndln), showing you the first steps to cutting a custom dirndl! SATURDAY: (last day… sad face 😦 ) Alien Sharks (one of my favs) is on at 8pm and at 9pm, the Great White Blouse sale ends! I honestly cannot promise my productivity will be a 100% this week, but I’ll give it my Shark Week Best! Do you or your family have any shark week traditions? Are you going to start one- maybe a little fish paprikash this week?

Simple, Yet Beautiful: Rare Dirndl Summer 2015 Collection

0001-26523447 This summer I decided to do a collection featuring 2 of my favorite things, Art Nouveau and Poppies. art nouveau poppyMy love for Art Nouveau started in college when I took an art history class and that period of art spoke to me in a way that other eras in the art world did not. Maybe it’s because I could just stare at some of the works for hours.art nouveau My love for Poppies started after my trip to Hungary in 2011. We took a day trip to visit Krushival, Serbia. It was once a town that the communist regime turned into a starvation camp and it was the place where my Oma and her mother were taken after the World War II. I had heard that the Poppy fields were a thing of wonder in the region and when I saw a poppy field for myself I felt more in touch with my heritage and my family. It is a powerful symbol for me and I was so excited to create a collection combining both Poppies and Art Nouveau.poppy-hummel poppyI found a fabric collection that featured Poppies of all shapes and sizes and I had to use it! Beyond the obvious inspiration behind the printed fabric choice. I also used more playful silhouettes and soft lines to subtly reference the Art Nouveau era and then utilized some bright pops of lime green to make the collection modern. Another detail about this collection that I love is the setting for the photo shoot. I decided that I wanted to shoot this fun, flirty, pretty, soft, feminine collection in places that are usually overlooked for not having any beauty. Back alleys of the north side of Chicago are typically home to rats, garbage and some unidentified things, but I think the Chicago alleys are wonderful. They are a place were we can put our garbage (not on the street) and in our neighborhood, in the summertime its a place were children play basketball and ride their bikes. There are even those who do some good ol’ “Garage sittze” (as Schmidt Oma used to say). There is hidden beauties in the alleys of Chicago and I thought it would a great place to have a shoot (my mom was not so enthused “your gonna take pics with those rat signs??” haha!! So we took this shot just for her!) IMG_9130_2 I’m so excited about this new collection and I hope you enjoyed the inspiration pictures. Also, here is a sneak peek/behind the scenes video from the photo shoot. BIG thanks to VKB Photography for doing another fantastic job!!!

Ever wonder which dirndl style you are? Click here to take out quiz and find out now!

Behind the Scenes in the Dirndl Studio: What’s in that back corner?

Rare Dirndl DEsign Studio1

Many times people come into the studio and I see their eyes wondering around. I feel like I can see little thought bubbles pop up over their heads saying, “In wonder whats in the that big fancy closet…” or “where does she keep all the other dirndls?” or “I wonder what’s in all those drawers…” With that in mind, I thought I’d introduce you to a little corner of the studio that always gets some looks: the way back corner with the ladder.

First a tid bit about the ladder. My dad found it somewhere, washed it and thought, “This is a really tall, really light ladder… perfect for Erika.” He though I would keep it in the basement and bring it up when I needed to change a lightbulb, but no… not me! I use it as decor/pattern hanging device/storage.

Rare Dirndl DEsign Studio2

All the dirndl and blouse patterns

Here is where all the original and sized patterns hang, patiently waiting to be used for someones new blouse or dirndl. When I have a special order, custom piece or a new style that needs to be cut by my specially trained super designer eye… I use these.

Rare Dirndl Design Studio - Chicago

Ironing Basket, Chi Business License and my big award 😉

Next we’ll move on to the stuff that sits on the ladder. The ironing basket, my Chicago business license and my Up and Coming Designer 2008 award thingy. The ironing basket contains things you’d assume are in an ironing basket: a sleeve roll, a ham (I hate to admit this, but it took me a solid year of design school to realize why its called a ham… it looks like a ham! haha), iron cleaner, some spray starch and the water cup.

I like to beautifully display my Chicago Business license for 2 reasons… #1) I legally have to and #2) It makes me feel ‘too legit to quit’ Whoop Whoop!

Next to that is the metal dress form that the Apparel Department at Dominican University presented to me when I won Up and Coming Designer in 2008. I like to keep it where I can see it because it reminds me that even when I was in school, people believed in my talent… and it looks cool!

Rare Dirndl Mood BoardFinally, the thing that people always love to look at… the upcoming season’s Mood Board! Right now it has the inspiration pictures, theme, and fabric swatches for the Summer 2015 Collection. This is what I put together while I’m designing the new collection and then I keep it hung up throughout the season to keep me on track and focused on what’s coming up. If you can’t tell, this summer is all about bright reds & greens, poppies, and fun & laughter!

So there is a mini tour of “that back corner over there”. Are there other areas of the studio you want to see more of? Leave me a comment below and I’ll be happy to show you! Also if you want to come see the studio for yourself. Check out this webpage to see our upcoming open studio weekends or make an appointment online to visit! http://raredirndl.com/pages/the-design-studio

Ever wonder which dirndl style you are? Click here to take out quiz and find out now!

How We Turn Dreary Chicago Winter into a Beautiful New Collection

In the past I’ve had trouble designing Spring collections because here in Chicago… spring is this elusive season that lasts for about 3 days, so it is truly find inspiration for a Spring Collection. This year I thought I’d do things a little differently and design a Winter/Spring 2015 collection that is inspired by exactly that, winter into spring. The idea of cold transforming into warmth, old growing into new, darkness turning to light and the destruction of winter becoming the growth of spring.

I was in yoga class and the instructor was talking about how in order to grow, we must let go of things that are restraining us. Like seeds; in order for a seed to become a plant, it must first let go of it’s outer shell, essentially destroy itself in order to become new. I starting thinking about animals and humans and how we must all cope with love, loss, life and death to be able to grow and become new and better.

Using this as inspiration, I created my own fabric design using a photo of a deer skull that was given to me that I made new again by adding a flower to it. I also used a muted color pallet with pops of greens to signify the muted colors of winter followed by pops of the first signs of spring; grass peeking through the snow.

The majesty of strong animals that live through the tough winters inspired the use of leather and strong hooks and chains.

And the confusion of the transition from winter into spring, the warm days followed by freezing rain, followed yet again by bright, sunny afternoons inspired the mixing of textures and fabrics to create new and innovative silhouettes.

I’m very excited about how the collection is coming along. Be sure to follow @raredirndl on Instagram to see more behind the scenes pics of the collection before its release.

Also, check out the behind the scenes video from the photo shoot!


Ask the Dirndl Designer! – 5 Most Common Questions!

This past weekend was one of Chicago’s most beloved street festivals, the Maifest in Lincoln Square. I also had the Rare Dirndl Design Studio doors open for anyone who wanted to stop by and shop! It was a lot of fun and as usual… when people find out that I design a line of fashion forward dirndls for a living, the questions start rolling! It got me thinking that after 5 years of doing this there are pretty much 5 most common questions so I decided to answer them for you via video!

Watch this video to learn the answers to the most common questions I get asked. The very last one is the best one (and I was only asked that once, but it’s probably my favorite question ever!!)

Do you have a question that I didn’t answer? Feel free to write it in the comments and I’ll be sure to answer it for you. Have a fabulous week!
 Ever wonder which dirndl style you are? Click here to take out quiz and find out now! 

Finding Inspiration: Disney’s "Frozen"

Last week I decided that I needed to take the evening to relax a bit. It’s been a bit hectic lately with 2 wedding parties, dance group outfits and getting ready for the Fall/Winter photo shoot (ya… we’re thinking ahead)… so I spent the evening with one of my favorite movies, Disney’s Frozen. I had some dinner, poured myself a glass of wine and thought… “I love the outfits in this movie, I should do some sketches!” So I did! And I made a quick video of me taking the outfits that Elsa and Anna were wearing and turned them into Rare Dirndls. Check it out!

If you really love either of these designs and want to have it made for you, feel free to shoot me an e-mail erika@erikaneumayer.com and we’ll make it happen!

This is Part 2 of the dirndl sketches video series which features inspiration from Elsa’s Ice Gown and Anna’s final dress from the movie Frozen.

You can order any of the four Frozen Dirndls by e-mailing erika@erikaneumayer.com Pricing for theses Dirndls are as follows:

Elsa’s Coronation Dirndl – $435
-matching blouse – $98

Anna’s Coronation Dirndl – $375
-matching blouse – $40

Elsa’s Ice Queen Dirndl – $389
-matching blouse – $89

Anna’s Finale Dirndl – $385
-matching blouse – $79

 Ever wonder which dirndl style you are? Click here to take out quiz and find out now!