You came to the USA from Hungary, Kalocsa. Was it your intention to start a business using the Kalocsa Style embroidery? Where did the idea come from?
– I was born in Kalocsa and spent my childhood in that region of Hungary, in a village called Dusnok. The embroidery, especially the Kalocsa style embroidery, was part of our everyday life. My grandmother, my mother and all women of the family could do embroidery. I was a little girl when I first learnt the motifs, the colours and the techniques.
Did you learn to do embroidery as a child?
– Yes. I learnt how to produce fine, hand sewn embroidery, I was taught how to choose the yarns and fix colours. All these things are important.
Today you do not only produce embroideries but design clothes as well.
-I was 14 when I started my studies in Budapest and started to sew clothes. My school was one of the best schools at the time. I learnt a lot about clothing manufacturing and design. Of course, I am still learning new things every day. Whenever I have time, I would sit down to the machine and start making something. I practise as much as I can.
My final school essay was about the history of Hungarian costumes and embroidery, in particularly the Kalocsa style embroidery. It was obvious that I would research and write about this embroidery style as it is the one I like the most. It reminds me of my childhood and its colours and forms make me happy.
You studied Hungarian and German languages and literature at Eötvös Loránd University, known as ELTE, in Budapest. Why did you choose that field of study?
Literature is the other great passion of my life so I decided to pursue literary studies at university. Those years were amazing and very intense. I read a great deal, I learnt languages, mainly German and Japanese. I also won scholarships and travelled to both countries. It was a wonderful time of my life and I am thankful to have had so many opportunities. In my life, I always found ways to be happy and free. I took a few Kalocsa style embroidery to places I travelled to and gave them to people I met. I remember Japanese loved them so much! I gave them away as presents.
How did you come to New York?
First, I came as a tourist but I fell in love with this energetic city. So a few months later, I came back. I felt that here I had the opportunity to establish myself in producing clothes and embroideries. There is still so much to learn! For instance, I am studying English full time and I need to develop my skills in photography, blogging and production which I need in order to run my business.
I heard that your clothes and accessories are already in a New York store?
-I have some promotional items in a few places in New York. The feedback is good and people seem to like my style so it is looking hopeful for the future. I also supply a small business in New York with embroidery. This will also contribute to make Hungarian embroideries more popular over here as they are largely unknown to the American public.
You modernized a little the traditional motifs.
I love traditional motifs so I check through old collections and pick out the ones I like the most and redesign them to my liking so that they match modern tastes and fit the modern design of clothes.
I would like to introduce contemporary, new colour combinations not just the traditional style. I want the clothes and embroideries to follow the needs of the XXI. century. I call this style contemporary or modern ethno. I really think this is a very new and exciting trend.
Why are the products with Hungarian style embroidery successful among the American women?
-American customers appreciate handmade, unique pieces. I think people are tired of mass produced clothes. They are not interesting anymore and so people turn to hand-crafted items. That’s why this style of clothes are becoming successful and not only in America but all around the world. Well known actresses such as Nicole Kidman and Emma Watson, along with sport personalities and bloggers have been photographed wearing Hungarian embroidered outfits. Only a few months ago, I spotted a photo in the New York Times of a dress decorated with a large Kalocsa embroidery. An Australian blogger wore it at the New York Fashion Week.
What are your plans for the near future?
I would like to promote Hungarian embroidery here in New York and help people discover this beautiful tradition. My aim is to create unique designs, durable garments that are known to and appreciated by the customers. I wish to see my clothes used in everyday life.
If the American Hungarians (the public) wishes to order clothes from you, where can they find you?
For wholesale, retail or any other informations you can write me email to the firstname.lastname@example.org
or find me on facebook – Hanna Modern Ethno Style http://www.facebook.com/pages/
or at wordpress http://hannamodernethno.