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All in all, 'Heimat' is a mix of memories, upbringing and what I'm used to

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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