NOH NEE, Dirndl à l’ Africaine

02/02/2015

In Munich, Glockenbackviertel is the most famous neighborhood where many fashion designers and artists in general are based. Historically the favourite location of gays (which is often still a synonymous with creativity!) it is nowadays the best place to find new trends and enlightenment.

Now, imagine the colour and power of Africa, mixed with the deep tradition of Germany: this is Noh Nee[1], a shop close to Sendlinger Tor (Sendling Gate), in the south of the historic old town area of the city.

When we met in Glockenback to talk about Noh Nee, we were overwhelmed by the passion and energy of Rahmée Wetterich, one of the founders of this business. She started to tell us about a new App for tourists in which also Noh Nee is involved, and went on talking about the amazing recent experience in Brussels (Ethno Tendance Fashion Weekend Brussels 2014). Noh Nee is also in the “Museum der Kulturen” in Basel until 2019[2].

So, Noh Nee is really everywhere, or better said, in every place it should be.

The project is more than clothes, it is more about the mix of cultures and the passion for fashion, the influence of Africa with the lightness of the improvisation: we can say it because Noh Nee was somehow achieved by chance, the result of a great passion for creation, in particular for fashion.

The heart and head of the project is Marie Darouiche, the one who designs the clothes, since she has always been dealing with fashion, the person who decides to melt the tradition of the dirndl with the style from the ’50. This was made possible and started through the project of “Colour Mix of Africa”, an idea (and an exposition) that comes from Rahmée, her sister (as she explained us, it has nothing really to do with colours but about the influence of different cultures).

Now, just try to imagine an expensive kitchen and some multicolored dresses spread everywhere and the feeling you have everytime you bump into something completely stranger: you become curious and you get excited. That is how I imagine the reaction of the people who were there and met for the first time (without knowing it) at NOH NEE. It was 2010.

Since 2011, Cornelia Hobbhahn also became part of the project. At the moment Noh Nee does not mean only dirndl, but also slacks, shoes, coats and more… The manufactoring is in Passau (the “Three Rivers City”), Bavaria.

The magic of the dirndl is that it does not matter how big or tall people are, a dirndl fits everyone! It is easy to realize it just by looking at the many photos that Rahmée keeps in the shop; pictures sent by people who got married with a Noh Nee creation, or went to a gala, or simply to Oktoberfest…

Let’s talk about textile. Maybe some people think, as myself, that they come from Africa… it is not really true! I mean, they are african samples but most of them come from Holland. More than 100 years ago  the first prints came from Indonesia to Europe and since then they are constantly edited: some themes are already 150 years old. There are circa 270 colours.

The fabric is really special, hard and difficult to work, unlike what we see, for example, everywhere.
Often many of them come from China, and are not original (Rahmée gave us a tiny tipp: you can recognize the original one because it is printed on both sides. The colour, in a manner of speaking, goes through the textile).

Furthermore, they revisit the textile they buy from them to create new designs through a process of development. Marie always has to find new ideas and patterns to match everything.
As Rahmée said, when they go to purchase the textile, in the same moment she has one in her hands she already knows if it has potential, and what it can be used for.
She talks about “visualize”, a kind of seer who can see into the future of fabrics.

Everything is special and privileged, also the wonderful pieces that they found are limited… and that is also another reason why they are so unique.

Explanation for such big success? It’s the right solution for people who are looking for a new fashion style to wear again, or for the first time, such a traditional dress like a dirndl.

The format of Noh Nee is different because it is new, powerful, multicultural and gives emancipation to this bavarian (but not only) costume.

But, above all, it worked because of the passion they put in it: to hear Rahmée  is like seeing a ball of fire, not only because of her enthusiasm and competence, but because she loves the project and she puts extraordinary effort in it.

It is easy to be infected from the feeling of love she feels when she talks about Noh Nee!

Noh Nee, literally “a godsend”, is also engaged with a project called: “Education for Girls in Benin“.

The shop is in Hans-Sachs-Straße 2, Munich.


[1] http://www.nohnee.com/

[2] https://www.dropbox.com/s/pwpl8e2q3nrpr02/0143_VideoNohNee_FinalCut-DEF_1.mp4?dl=0