The Amish intrigue me, because they make the most beautiful handicraft. I’ve been a craftsmen myself, since I was very young and I am still improving my skills. At school, I was the best in crafts-classes and eager to learn everything about needlework, knitting and sewing. My love for manual skills makes me curious for all/new techniques (like the embroidery with shoelaces) and I am always customizing, because of my different way of looking at things. If I had to choose between making or wearing my clothes, it would be would making, because it gives me such a kick!
The Amish women wear over-the-knee dresses and black or white hats, because they must have their heads covered when they come to God. The white ones are for prayer, which they almost wear all the time. Jewelry is not allowed. Men wear straw hats in summer, the black cloth hats are only worn at certain occasions. Their shirts are coloured in earth tones ,trousers are dark and hold in place by suspenders plus they have vests and simple suit jackets. In the older order of the Amish they never used buttons and buttonholes, but hooks and eyes to close their garments, called Häftler, this name is also used as a nickname for the Amish. The men have to grow beards after they are married, but aren’t allowed to grow a moustache, because moustaches are linked to militaries in the army and Amish are pacifists. Plain Fabric without patterns is a must and never the colour red, I couldn’t unravel why…. Their clothes are inspired by lower and middle-class in central Europe, 17th and 18th century. Most people think, they still make their own clothes, but nowadays they buy their clothes at special Amish clothes stores.
The Amish way of dressing has definitely had an influence on fashion, like all folkloric costume. The simple and devout look is detectable in early collections by Comme Des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto. Ann Demeulenmeester was inspired by the Amish for her men’s collection summer ’09.
And the Dior Homme autumn/winter collection 2011/’12 had an Amish feeling too.
In february 2008 Vogue Italia published a fashion story by Steven Meisel, called Country Style, but could have been called Amish Style…The next post will be about Paul Harnden Shoemakers, who is an devoted craftmen himself and his clothes and shoes are absolutely brilliant!!!