The Neustadt neighborhood of Dresden, which was rebuilt by artists after the reunification of Germany, has quite a few artisan manufacturers, including shoes and clothes designers with the sewing machines right in the shop.
I was intrigued by Susanne Möller’s Leather workshop at Alaunstrasse 70 (open Monday to Friday from 1400-1800) Phone 0173 56 11 912. The main products on display were colorful leather children’s shoes. She also made a very dramatic folded handbag and other accessories.
She refused to be interviewed or photographed until I returned with the charming Andreas.
“Why are you doing this?”
She makes the international sign for money, rubbing her thumb and forefinger together.
“Is that the only motivation?”
“It’s fun, and I can.”
“How did you start?”
“I began as a teenager to handmake clothes, because in East German there were no shops. You had to make something interesting yourself. So I began with normal clothes now for 15 years I work with leather.”
She loves her job, explained Andreas.
“Why do people come?”
“The quality. Everything is unique and the size is customized.”
“Do you sell to tourists?”
“Only a few. Most are locals who know about the shop and return. It’s a special relationship.”
During our conversation Susanne was interrupted many times by customers who seemed to be friends, they would ask a few questions and wave goodbye as if a plan had been made for another day.
Susanne was highly entertained by the fact that the entire time I had been hanging around the shop she had been working on a leather hat which was a copy of an Australian hat. She showed me the mark on the inside of the Australian hat in triumph at her trick. Then she showed me, even more proudly, that her hat was designed to fit over, completely concealing, a motorcycle helmet!