Nora, Nora, make me some clothes!

Nora, Nora, make me some clothes!

Image by Esthr
No, do it yourself!

Nora Abousteit of Burda is about to launch Burda Style, a user-generated content site in which the tools are clothes patterns and the content is clothes and fashion. (her partner is Benedikta Karaisl von Karais.) This harks back to Burda Moden, which was the original user-generated clothing (i.e. patterns and sewing, along with fashion) magazine, in Germany just after the war. (It also publishes Focus, Germany’s answer to The Economist.) Abousteit shares offices with Etsy and O’Reilly’s MAKE magazine, heralds of the user-generated world. Unlike most pattern companies/services, Burda will encourage its members to use the patterns commercially – to make dresses for customers, for example, or to create and sell their own patterns. (And of course they will be encouraged to comment on, rate and otherwise network around one another’s creations.)

This reminds me of the Burda pattern I once found in a Russian dacha a few years ago. I opened a Russian encyclopedia printed in the Fifties, and out fell a fragile piece of tissue paper with a tracing of a decadent, pinched-waist, low-bodice, full-skirt dress, the kind Western women wore at the time. Clearly a secret, endangered treasure, holding the rebellious, plaintive dreams of some long-ago Soviet would-not-be apparatchitsa.