“I love where I’m from”, says Christa Steinauer with a satisfied smile. She believes the town of Waidhofen an der Ybbs is the ideal location for her and her now six-year old fashion business FREIWILD. If you’re on the Ybbs Valley Cycle Trail and want to look good in traditional Austrian dress, you should definitely stop by.
Friends and family live within reach and the Mostviertel also inspires the creative process of the traditional costume designer – especially in spring: “Every year, when temperatures start to rise, the pear blossom gives me new ideas for models”, says the 36-year-old. “On walks with my partner I take in the endless majestic colour of the pear trees and put the inspiration onto paper in the studio a short time later.”
Her favourite hiking routes lead around the Sonntagberg. One of them is the Basilica Hiking Trail, which is 20 km long. It offers a fairytale view of the Eisenwurzen and the Danube Valley as far as the Czech Republic. “Traditional costume makers have always been inspired by their surroundings”, she says. “Home and culture are very closely linked to our profession. You can see it in the rich diversity of traditional regional costumes – they reflect the region’s characteristics in their colours, patterns and cuts.”
While she likes to work on traditional models, she enjoys creating modern alpine costumes just as much: “It’s important for me to make traditional costume wearable for today”, she says. “But they also have to last. It’s telling that young people enjoy wearing traditional costume again today.” In addition to the classic dirndl, her collection also includes jackets, shorts, blouses and dresses and knitwear for women. For men, Steinauer produces jackets and waistcoats, all with a contemporary touch. “FREIWILD DESIGN should keep up with the rhythm of the urban world as well as slower pace of rural life”, she says.
Author: Martina Weinbacher
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Landscapes influence people and people influence landscapes. Austria has a lot to tell you about.