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What does 'Heimat' mean to you?

Our SS20 collection explores the meaning of ‘Heimat’ (homeland). In a world of mass migration, be it for business or travel, people fleeing war and destruction or economic underdevelopment, the concept of 'Heimat' is not only constantly shifting but is more relevant than ever. We've had the opportunity to talk to many people involved in one way or another in the production of the collection about 'heimat': sewers, models, or photographers. They've shared their personal stories and feelings when they think about their 'Heimat'.

Heimat SS20 collection
Tati and Nina (credits: Janette Gloor)

At the sidelines of a recent photoshooting we had the chance to talk with Tatjana (Tati), a German fashion design student (FHNW Basel), about the meaning of 'Heimat' to her.

Tati, thanks for your time. What does "Heimat" mean for you?

Tati: Heimat means to me a feeling of belonging. In other words, Heimat doesn’t really relate to a place or a country. Moreover it is people to me who give me that feeling of ‘Heimat’. I have many friends all over the world but places where I feel home is surely with my German and Chinese family.

Are there things that make you feel home?

Definitely my neck pillow but also German bread or Schnittlauchbrot. But I also love xiao long bao soup from Shanghai.

Do you think you are well integrated into the society that you live in currently? Do you sometimes struggle?

I think partly I am. Somehow I still can’t speak Swiss German neither have I ever tried. I think language is a big part if feeling integrated so it gives me feeling of being different. Anyhow German and Swiss German culture is similar so it is not such a big gap.

Tati wearing SS19 Origami neck blouse
Tati wearing our Origami neck blouse (credits: Janette Gloor)

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

I have experience something like racism I would say. Somehow, Germany never gets rid of its past and people talk about the Second World War whenever they know that I am from Germany. But also when I travelled in Asia, I experienced something the other way around. I felt like Asian people admire European people especially Germany and they gave me some advantages because of that. It seemed like they treated me better just because of my look and background than their own people.

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

I wouldn’t say that the people I consider my ‘Heimat’ are threatened but surely they live differently. The people I know in China are restricted to news and the rest of the world.

What do you feel when you imagine "Heimat"?

I think 'Heimat' is kind of sad and happy at the same time to me. I am travelling a lot and I never felt truly German or Swiss. I am not sure what I am but my passport says German so I guess that it is. It gives me a very comfortable feeling but I am sad too because I haven’t exactly figured out yet where my ‘Heimat’ truly is.

Thanks for your time and openess, dear Tati.

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