TRADITIONAL DIRNDL MADE OF AFRICAN FABRICS
Bavarian traditional dresses made of colorful fabrics with African prints - the Dirndl label Noh Nee from Munich proves how perfectly this unique combination works.
Marie Darouiche and Rahmée Wetterich grew up in Cameroon. Their mother worked as a seamstress there. No wonder, that both of them chose a creative way of life. Rahmée, who was the first of the two sisters to come to Germany at the age of twelve, worked for many years in fashion and interior design. Her sister Marie, who was eleven years older, worked as a tailor in Cameroon before she followed the family to Europe. In 1992, the sisters opened a joint furniture shop in Munich.
1) Noh Nee co-founder Rahmée Wetterich. 2)+3) Outside and inside the Noh Nee store in Munich
Colorful prints and traditional cuts: The Dirndl à l'Africaine
After decades in Germany, Marie designed the first "Dirndl à l'Africaine" - and the sisters finally found a way to combine their love for African fabrics with the culture of their adopted country. "When I saw the first dirndl made of African fabrics, it was the first time I considered to wear something like that! Until then, I had never worn a dirndl and even after 35 years in Bavaria, I had no intention of ever owning one," says Rahmée. The unique piece was so popular right from the start that the two opened a studio and a shop in 2011. The first designs for Noh Nee were based on the classic Dirndl cut of the 1950s. Later, dresses, skirts and coats with the typical playful patterns followed.
colorful wax prints became part of the continent's identity during colonial times
They are an important part of the African look: the colorful wax prints became part of the continent's identity during colonial times. For the Noh Nee Benin collection, which is manufactured entirely in Africa, only fabrics with wax prints from Ghana are used. Every year the sisters travel to Africa to find new materials for their creations. The label wants to contribute to a seamless, fair and transparent local production chain. The patterns are created using a special printing technique: the patterns are applied to cotton fabric with wax and then dyed on both sides. The uniform color intensity is an important quality feature of high-quality textiles made in Africa. "With the African fabrics", Marie says, "the dirndls become a tribute to the pride of women, an attitude towards life and there are no limits to one's own creativity adding jackets and accessories".
Power for the future: The "Project Justine"
But just being fashion designers is not enough for the sisters: Since 2016, Noh Nee has been working with the charitable association "Project Justine" to support people in Africa. According to the principle "Train the Trainer", the label has created a training and meeting place in Benin, West Africa. Young people will be trained and educated there and then pass on their acquired knowledge. The project started with teaching tailoring; further disciplines are to follow. By selling the resulting products in Germany, they can provide the tailors with a secure livelihood. Noh Nee not only makes the world a more colorful place, but also a bit better.
The making-of a Noh Nee product