Michaela Buerger is an Austrian fashion designer living in France.
Having learned to knit from an early age, a skill passed down from her mother, in her native Austria, Michaela has been on a journey to push handcraft into the luxury market - a feat for anyone without the backing of a big-name fashion house.
Michaela grew up in a small village in the south of Austria, living her childhood surrounded by many Austrian traditions and typical folklore clothing, called Tracht. Her mother knitted at home custom orders of traditional Austrian knit cardigans - pieces with a strong identity and technically very challenging over an ultra- feminine and charming style. With her new collection «Origins», she turns to her knitting heritage she grew up with.
Beginning in Paris in 2010 with two knitting needles and a small amount of money, Michaela slowly and carefully developed collections of sweaters featuring crochet inserts, crochet trimmed shirting and t-shirts, denim and childrenswear into a globally sold boutique label. A label that while in demand, continues to shy away from mass production in favor of authenticity. Her designs, hand-drawn and sketched by Michaela, are then developed into knitwear using the finest of wools and yarns. Experimentation is key, so at present, recycled fabrics and threads are being upcycled into luxury crochet bags. In 2011 pieces were making its way to the Asian underground fashion scene, which led her to be included in the ultimate edit - the quintessential concept store, Colette.
A design, which can take days to produce or when made by Michaela herself “2 days if I start at 8am and finish at 11pm without breaks” - are all hand-drawn by Michaela and then knitted, crocheted and embroidered with utmost care. Each collection is produced in collaboration with collectives of hand knitters - whose mission is to achieve the economic and social empowerment of these women.
Michaela Buerger was one of the few brands to work with the idea of #whomademyclothes and #sustainabilty years before it was a hashtag. A graduate of the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, under the tutelage of Raf Simons, Michaela’s stockist list include Le Bon Marche, Paris; Bergdorf Goodman New York; Galeries Lafayette, Paris; Isetan, Tokyo; Shopbop, USA and one of her first and most supportive clients, Tom Greyhound, Seoul.
“I want to push hand-craft further. I could not imagine these past few years without knitting, crochet and embroidery. It is a basic need for my existence. To work with my hands.” - Michaela Buerger 2020