Collage of photos including a sewing machine, a traditional dirndl and dirndl blouses

Hi! I'm Erika Neumayer, founder and designer of Rare Dirndl 

I'd like to start by saying, WILLKOMMEN & WELCOME!! No matter who you are, where you’re from, how you think, or who you love... we believe you should be you, and deserve a dirndl that is just as fabulous! 

I started Rare Dirndl because, as an active member of the German community in Chicago, I was so disappointed to see that Germany's dirndl designs were lightyears ahead of the designs coming out of the USA. So, I decided to change that! 

I am committed to bringing you high-quality dirndls, blouses, bloomers and accessories that break the 'rules', yet honor the Bavarian, Austrian and Swiss Alpine traditions. I like to think that I make authentic dirndls for the adorable badass in all of us! 

Want to hear more from me like articles, sales and other fun dirndl stuff straight to your inbox?


What We Stand For

Rare Dirndl is here to help you connect with your German or Austrian heritage or help you get ready for Bavarian special occasions without sacrificing your personal style.

We are committed to bringing you high-quality dirndls, blouses, bloomers, and accessories that break the 'rules', yet honor traditions. Run by a small group of women, the Rare Dirndl Team is truly dedicated to your happiness and looks forward to helping you make your trip to Oktoberfest or the next German Club Picnic one to remember!

Rare Dirndls are for everyone! We strongly believe that whether you do not need to be German to enjoy wearing an authentic dirndl and celebrating Bavarian culture or Oktoberfest. All are welcome to enjoy our products.

About the Brand

Rare Dirndl was founded in 2010 and has been growing ever since. Designer, Erika Neumayer started the clothing line when searching for a fashion-forward dirndl in America seemed impossible. Her first collection, Rainforest, pushed the boundaries by using unconventional dirndl fabrics, textures & silhouettes and included the best-selling dirndl (the only one of its kind) The Leopard Dirndl.

Image of dirndl dresses in a window display with a short skirt length

In 2013, Erika moved the business to the Rare Dirndl Design Studio in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago, (after her parents subtly pointed out that she had taken over the dining room, living room, sister's bedroom, basement, backyard shed, and occasionally the kitchen… haha oopsie!). Since then she added custom Bridal designs, jewelry by Chicago designer, Kristen Hunger, the Everyday Dirndl, and the wildly popular One-of-a-Kind Dirndl Sale


Growing up in Chicago, starting her business in Chicago and opening a Design Studio in Chicago is just one of the many reasons Erika is passionate about keeping all the dirndl production local, ethical and as sustainable as possible. 

In an effort to create more size inclusivity and a wider selection of modern and traditional dirndl styles, Rare Dirndl carries a dirndl blouses and accessories of our own design as well as imported from Germany. 

You can check out Rare Dirndl's wide selection of products on this site or get to know the brand better by following Erika and the Rare Dirndl team on Facebook, Instagram (@raredirndl), YouTubePinterest or TikTok.



About the Designer

Designer Erika Neumayer styling a photoshoot of dirndl dresses for her online store on a rooftop in lincoln square

Erika Neumayer was born in Chicago, IL and is passionate about keeping the production of her products in Chicago as well. Her journey in the fashion industry started with her bachelor's degree with distinction in Apparel Design from Dominican University. During her time at Dominican, Erika received the Up and Coming Designer of the year award in 2007 and 2008. Also in 2007, Erika traveled to Ghana, West Africa to study the prominent textile industry. That trip, and visiting other countries, she says, “opened my eyes to the world of cultural textile and dress. It is really what inspired me to take a closer look at the clothing of my own heritage and culture”.

In 2009, Erika continued her studies in Paris, France. At the Paris-American Academy, she learned multiple couture techniques and learned more about fashion and cultural dress. And then in 2010, Rare Dirndl was born! Realizing the need for a fresh, modern, and edgy twist on the traditional dress, she designed her first collection and released it in March, and has been rocking the world with her dirndl designs ever since!

Why design dirndls and tracht?

Since 1990, Erika has been a member of the American Aid Society of German Descendants. In 2001, when she joined the Jugendgruppe, she knew she had found her home. Being of Donauschwaben descent, she felt a strong connection with the people involved and the culture behind the organization. After she graduated from design school, she saw a hole in the American dirndl market that needed to be filled and she was happy to do it. "There was a glaringly obvious lack of anything fresh, modern or edgy in the American dirndl market. German dirndl designers were worlds ahead of us and that's not acceptable in my eyes!"

Her passion for the culture led her to create the line Rare Dirndl, which combines modern fashion trends with traditional German, Austrian and Swiss costumes. “There is nothing I would rather be creating. Designing dirndls and tracht allows me to push myself creatively and be involved in the fashion industry and the German community.”

As Seen On 

Rare Dirndl worn by Fox and Friends hosts in a variety of skirt lengths
Rare Dirndl on Better Mornings Atlanta
Rare Dirndl and Dirndl blouses featured in Dirndl Magazine for Oktoberfest
Traditional dirndl featured on DNAinfo Chicago for Oktoberfest
Rare Dirndl dresses at the Münchener trachtnetage
traditional outfits featured in German Life Magazine
Rare Dirndl in DANK Journal
Non traditional bavarian Dirndl in the Nickelodeon Original Movie Swindle
Dirndl dresses worn by journalists on PIX 11
Rare Dirndl dresses in German Pulse
Rare Dirndl Wochen Post
Rare Dirndl Dresses featured in German World
Rare Dirndl Young Germany