It’s 8:30 am in Munich and -7°C. A bitingly cold winter day. Florian Wei?, CEO of Jameda, suddenly appears on his bike. Today, we accompany him on his way to work. Good morning!
“When I was 12, I sewed my first Burda pattern – a pair of pyjama trousers. I went straight for the heaviest checked material and almost failed, but in the end they looked really good. Admittedly the workmanship on the inside wasn’t all that great,” laughs Anastasios Voulgaris, Creative Director at Burda Style, as we stand in front of his apartment in the north of Munich. Snowflakes dance around him as I try to climb into his tiny car. Today I am joining Anastasios, who originally comes from Greece, on his journey to work.
As he reverses his car out of the snow-covered parking space, he says: “I was very fortunate to meet Aenne Burda in person. In a way, my colleagues and I are continuing her work. Aenne Burda’s patterns made it possible for women to have beautiful, affordable clothes after the war. Today our consumers have different needs,” he says as he accelerates. The road around us is packed with morning commuters – everyone’s in a rush to get to work. I ask him what kind of people still take the time to sew in the midst of all the everyday stress.
A tangible result
“These days you can find beautiful, affordable clothing everywhere. But as digitalisation advances, we lose out on physical experiences. A lot of things take place in our heads and in the virtual world. But if you’re working on a sewing project, you can feel the material and when it’s finished you have something you can hold in your hands. You can feel your creation against your skin and feel proud of your achievement,” he says with a smile as he watches the road.
Creative ambitions and pride
Anastasios was proud of his creations from an early age: “In school I took part in a theatre literature course for a few years and designed the costumes for our performances. My parents had little time for my creative ambitions and so we initially decided that I would study product design,” he says, adding half ironically, half wistfully: “Otherwise I might have become an actor, who knows.”
In the end, Anastasios studied fashion design and fashion journalism and, after working for Christian Dior in Paris and a fashion company in Braunschweig, joined Burda in Offenburg, later moving to Munich. Today, he and his team decide which patterns will be featured in the upcoming issues. He draws inspiration from material trade fairs, DIY blogs and looks he sees on the street. At fashion weeks such as those in Berlin and Paris, he examines the materials and cuts up close: “After a show, you can visit the showroom and see the creations on their hangers. I pay particular attention to the details of the workmanship and how an item is cut. We incorporate all this information into our collections at Burda Style,” he says.
Anastasios receives plenty of feedback from readers: “We receive photos of successful projects – and also criticism if something doesn’t quite work. The aim of the Burda Easy magazine is to get novices interested in sewing. We have something for all levels of difficulty,” he explains.
Anastasios has particularly fond memories of a letter from a Greek subscriber: “We did a 70s fashion shoot in Athens for the September issue. A passer-by who happened to see the shoot and fell in love with the dress later found the photo in an edition of Burda Style after frantically trying to identify the label so that she could buy her dream dress. She was so thrilled not only to make the dress with the exact same material, but also to replicate the photo from the magazine in the original location with the dress she had made. It was a floral prairie dress with bell sleeves. I was so touched to have made a reader so happy and that our work is so valued.”
We have now arrived at the Burda Style building which is, in fact, a creative factory – although this is not obvious on this grey winter’s day. Anastasios turns round one last time for a photo and then disappears through a large revolving door.