Ann-Charlotte, our dear intern, has been tremendously helpful to make our SS20 ‘Heimat’ collection possible. She studies fashion design and is 19 years old. As many in Switzerland, she has a Swiss and German background. We seized the chance to work next to her day by day and spoke with her about what 'Heimat' means to her.


Anna, what does ‘Heimat’ mean to you?


Location-wise ‘Heimat’ means for me both the place where I grew up and the place I am living in the moment (more the first one). Landscapes are also important, such as places I remember, I once visited, walked through... when I was younger, I saw the landscapes through my window from my room. People-wise, these are both the ones with whom I grew up and such as parents, grandma and day-care parents as well as friends from school.

From a culture point of view, it’s a mix of traditions from Bern and Southern Germany. Also the food that I usually eat can mean ‘Heimat’ for me.

Moreover, it can be special days, not just national holidays, but also regional holidays like “Zwiebelemärit” (“onion market”, an annual market with aspects of a fair in the old town of Bern, Switzerland). There are also certain family breakfast traditions, like eating garlic bread on our holidays in Italy. I would also say that as protestant I am more used to surroundings that are overwhelmingly protestant. Internet doesn’t mean ‘Heimat’ to me, maybe the closest thing are the sites on which I watch my series. Due to my dad’s superstitions and belief in myths, I would say such things are an integral part of my worldview.


Ann-Charlotte working in our atelier. Photo by Nina.

Are there things that make you feel home?


When I hear music, I just have to dance. For me, ‘Heimat’ means a place where I can express such desires, even in public. Whenever I hear the languages I grew up with, be it ‘high German’ or the Bernese dialect can also mean ‘Heimat’ to me. All in all I would say that ‘Heimat’ is a mix of memories, aspects from my upbringing and what I am used to.


Are there any special scents, tastes or noises that make you feel you are at home?


Certainly, the taste of cherry bubble gum (Stimorol) reminds me of our old car and holidays. The creaking of our old doors and floor remind me of my house and my childhood and therefore ‘Heimat’.


Would you say that you are well integrated in the society you live in? Do you sometimes struggle?


I’m very well integrated in my society, but sometimes I have some trouble understanding certain traditions of for example those here in the Emmental. When I travel I feel sometimes somewhat out of place, like in Italy, but when I visit Sweden for example, I feel right at home, probably because of my appearance.


What do you feel when you imagine "Heimat"?


Joy, relief, relaxation and comfort.


Thanks for sharing your story with us, Ann-Charlotte.

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For the upcoming SS20 collection ‘Heimat’ (homeland) NINA YUUN has joined forces with the Swiss-Korean jewelry maker Nicole Hana Kim. After working with silver for several years, Nicole launched her jewelry label “hana kim” in 2018. She is fascinated by craftsmanship using sustainable materials. Born in Switzerland to her Korean mother, she has talked with us openly about her feelings of ‘Heimat’. Read below this thought-provoking and touching interview. Thank you, Nicole!


Nicole, thanks for your time. As you are completing the collection with your unique and beautiful jewelry you are already pretty familiar with the questions we seek to answer. What does ‘Heimat’ mean for you?


For me ‘Heimat’ is very much linked to people in combination with places. For example

sitting with my mother in the house I grew up in means ‘Heimat’. If she would live somewhere else, although the notion of ‘Heimat’ is linked to her, I would call it rather just familiarity than ‘Heimat’. The feeling would be a mixture between familiarity that may occurs through scents, tastes - as in food, people I know and memories from the past. Somehow the concept of ‘Heimat’ for me is something linked to the past with a subtle feeling of melancholy surrounding it.

When we first discussed about a potential collaboration for ‘Heimat’ [collection], the Korean concept of jeong popped up in my head. It is a very particular feeling in Korean culture. It is often translated to love, but it captures even more. Jeong is an inseparable bond that is formed over time towards people or even objects, as for your favorite cup for example. Often it is referred to as a positive feeling, but sometimes it can be also something to explain stagnating relationships; for example couples that have been together for a long time and fight all the time - it seems like a toxic relationship, but somehow there is this inseparable bond. Jeong relates to my notion of ‘Heimat’: it is built over time and the bond can’t be neglected, neither if it is linked to positive emotions nor bad ones.


Are there things that make you feel home?


The Korean cuisine, so definitely tastes that carry me back home.


Are you well integrated into the society? Do you sometimes struggle?


I really feel Swiss and feel very well integrated. I rarely feel alienated to the society I live in, maybe because I live in the city. If I go to the countryside I realize that people are sometimes startled by me speaking perfect Swiss German although I look Asian - those are the moments I realize I am different to Swiss people.

What is really weird for me is whenever I go to Korea people there are super surprised when I speak Korean as to them I look very European. They often laugh because they think it’s so strange that I speak Korean. I feel really connected to Korean culture because of my relatives and the huge cultural influence from my mother, therefore I would wish to be more integrated in Korean society.


Nicole applying brooches to one of the SS20 NINA YUUN x hana kim pieces. Photo by Nina Yuun.

Have you experienced stereotyping or discrimination based on your looks?


As a child a lot in school and also as a teenager, then mostly on the street or when going

out. But now as an adult not anymore, maybe because society has changed, or maybe because you get more confident as you grow older.

I remember this one situation when I was maybe 14 and I went to Zurich city for my piano lesson. I went into a small shop and then there was this 40 years old guy that just left the shop when I was entering and he said „Hoi Ching Chang“. It’s funny when I think about the situation now, but at that time I was really startled and confused because this guy triple my age mocked me!


Do you feel that what you describe as 'Heimat' is being threatened?


Since ‘Heimat’, or rather Heimatgefühle [sense of home] for me is linked to the past, I don’t feel like it can be threatened in any way.


What do you feel when you imagine 'Heimat'?


Personally, ‘Heimat’ is mostly associated with joy, sometimes a bit oppressive. For example, when you’re at the place you grew up for too long it feels a bit oppressive, although it is joyful most of the time.



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Janette, a fashion and beauty photographer, has worked with us on the FW19 “Swirl” collection shooting. We talked with her about what ‘Heimat’ means to her. Janette was born to a Peruvian mother and a Swiss father in Peru and moved to Switzerland at the age of 10. We are grateful that she agreed to share her story.


Nina: What does "Heimat" mean for you, Janette?


‘Heimat’ is where my family is and where I can communicate perfectly in the language. Until the age of 10 this was Peru, after that Switzerland.


Are there things that make you feel home?


Whenever I can sleep in my own bed and have all my personal belongings around me.

Photo courtesy of Janette Gloor

Have you experienced stereotyping or discrimination based on your looks or gender?


When I was a child and just arrived in Switzerland there was a time when me and my sister were treated as people that have just arrived from an underdeveloped country. We were asked questions like if we slept in a house or had a bed [back in Peru] (laughs). It’s true, Peru is still a developing country, but not as poor as many may think. We were both very tanned and had long black hair… 40 years ago that was quite exotic in Switzerland! Generally I was always annoyed that people started to speak with me in high German – even before I was able to say anything. From time to time that even happens today.


What do you feel when you imagine your 'Heimat'?


I’m relieved that I didn’t grow up there [in Peru]. As a woman the life in Peru is still difficult as the society is dominated by men. The life I am living here would simply be impossible in Peru.


Are you well integrated into the society? Do you sometimes struggle?


I think I am well integrated into the society I live in.

Janette during the FW19 "Swirl" photoshoot in her studio in Zurich.

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