Fashion and Technology at the Crossroads

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Designing things as a reflection of our personality is by far nothing new in the fashion industry. Here’s a unique combination: traditional Bavarian outfits with colorful African print fabrics. The first Dirndl à l’Africaine that my sister Marie Darouiche designed was the starting point for our label NOH NEE, which is Swahili for “gift of god.” We base our ideas on the classic style of the dirndl of the 1950s, while our fabrics feature wax prints from Ghana and reflect the unique colors of Africa. It is how we envision combining these colors. I don’t think that it’s only our collections that tie together two vastly different cultures in an exciting way. Fashion and technology can also be an unbeatable team. Basically, my sole tool here in Munich is my Dell XPS 13 notebook. It’s the ideal portable computer for me: When we discuss a collection, the displayed images radiate the colors of our fabrics as vividly and colorfully as they would in nature. I can communicate via conference call with my team, some of whom work in other parts of the world while maintaining absolute flexibility over where I work. The XPS 13 is extremely practical and easy to carry anywhere. The borderless display maximizes the screen size. It’s something you wouldn’t expect from a notebook of this size. I definitely don’t need an additional monitor.

Dell Technologies provided us with a second XPS 13 for our Project Justine. Every year we travel to Africa to find new fabrics for our creations. Nevertheless, we also wanted to make a difference locally and contribute to a fair and transparent production chain and better working conditions. With further support, we have created an educational and meeting place in Benin, West Africa, according to the “train the trainer” principle. Young people will be trained and educated there, and they can then pass on what they have learned to others. Justine, the project’s namesake, has earned a degree in tailoring and completed her master craftswoman training with us during several stays in Munich. The project started with training as a tailor, with further disciplines to follow. We make it possible for the tailors to secure a livelihood through the sale of the products in Germany.

I am just as proud of a project that we are currently planning with the support of the non-profit organization Engagement Global, which is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. If everything goes according to plan, we want to organize a youth exchange program next year and invite young people from Benin to Germany so they can pursue an internship or attend training, thus granting them prospects for the future.

It is important for us to empower women and young people, in particular, with NOH NEE and to enable them to lead a more self-determined life. These two notebooks from Dell Technologies are a great help for us.

About the Author: Rahmee Wetterich

Co-founder of the fashion brand NOH NEE and chairwomen of the association The Project Justine – train the trainer.
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