Non-Bavarian made Oktoberfest costumes outrage German purists
Oktoberfest is supposed to be a celebration of Bavarian culture and heritage. But tourists and local spectators who were watching traditional folk costume parades in Munich this weekend may be surprised to learn that the traditional costumes they saw were not Bavarian-made. In fact, the costumes were made all over the globe but in Bavaria. The fabrics for the costumes came from Italy, China and Turkey, the leather came from Italy and India while the assembly took place in Czech Republic and Poland. This has Bavarians worried about preserving their traditions in an increasingly globalized society.
Munich’s department stores and fashion boutiques admit that many of the outfits on sale are made from imported leather and fabrics or manufactured abroad to save costs.
The folk costumes worn by many locals to the Oktoberfest are “yuppie outfits” that have nothing to do with original Bavarian dress, says Otto Dufter, chairman of the Bavarian Federation of Folk Costume Societies. “Our societies only use the domestic Lederhosen makers, we don’t use any pseudo-costumes made abroad,” he told SPIEGEL ONLINE.
Hans Lehrer, a member of the Munich-based Isargau folk costume society and a former spokesman for the federation, said: “Folk costumes should be made where they’re worn. I’ve got a problem with imported folk dress because heritage refers to one’s homeland. If people buy Lederhosen made in Romania just because that’s cheaper, I’m opposed to that.”
This brings me to the subject of Vancouver 2010 and the merchandise that Vancouver souvenir boutiques will be selling before and during the Olympics. Just recently, I was shopping for Canadian souvenirs to send to my friends over in Europe, and noticed that the First Nations totem poles sold by most souvenir shopes here in Vancouver have the “made in China” edgings on them. I knew that “made in China” totem poles just won’t make sense to folks in Europe, so I was determined to find “authentic” Canadian stuff. To be honest, I had to go to a lot of trouble to find stuff with no “made in China” markings on it. The closest souvenir shop with “authentic” Canadian-made souvenir merchandise that I could find was all the way down in a small mining community, approximately 25 kilometers north of Vancouver. Sure enough, the “real” Canadian souvenirs that I was able to purchase there cost me about 10 times more than the average Gastown souvenir merchandise.
What is your experience with finding authentic cultural merchandise in your countries? And, how would you feel over tourists buying “made ELSEWHERE” souvenirs during important cultural/ sport events in your country?