Cincinnati - A City Built on German Heritage

Photo Credit: Wiesnkoenig USA

Photo Credit: Wiesnkoenig USA

If you’ve ever been to Cincinnati, the city we call home, then you know it’s no secret that the city is steeped in German history. As one of the original hubs for German migrants during the early history of the United States, Cincinnati has come to be known for it’s large collection of Italianate architecture (mostly housed in the German-named neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine). To this very day, nearly 50% of the people who live in Cincinnati claim German to be their heritage, which is one of the highest rates in the country.

What you may not know about Cincinnati’s German history, however, is that Cincinnati proudly hosts the United States’ largest Oktoberfest every year. This event—second only in size to the original Oktoberfest, which is held each year in the German city of Munich—brings nearly 500,000 people down to Cincinnati’s 2nd and 3rd streets to celebrate German food, music, beer, and culture. This year’s Oktoberfest Zinzinnati was held from Friday, September 15th to Sunday, September 17th, and blended German traditions with Cincinnati flair by holding fun and interesting events like stein hoisting competitions, weiner dog races, and the world’s largest chicken dance!

In addition to the wonderful traditions celebrated each year at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, Cincinnati also celebrates its German roots through the German Heritage Museum (located in West Fork Park), the Fairview-Clifton German Language School, and what was the first US Hofbrauhaus location. But, that’s not all, Cincinnati has one more hidden gem that even many residents of the Queen City are unaware of.

Cincinnati is the first and only US city to house a Wiesnkoenig location—the only officially licensed supplier of traditional lederhosen and dirndls for the Munich Oktoberfest. Wiesnkoenig, who opened their first store in Germany in 2007, now boasts five German locations and one US location. The US store, which first opened its doors in 2014, is a little hard to find, since it’s located in the Christian Moerlein Brewery on Cincinnati’s Moore street, but that just adds to the authentic German charm. Wiesnkoenig’s slogan is “Tracht meets Lifestyle”, so the brand is always trying to blend the traditional garments of Germany with current fashion trends.

Originally, lederhosen were worn more for hard work than for leisure. Traditionally made of leather, they were more durable than garments made of fabric. Their popularity as a garment for riders and outdoorsmen peaked in the late 1700s when they could be commonly found throughout Europe. In the 1800s, they began to have a reputation as “peasants’ clothes” and quickly dropped out of fashion. However, in the 1880s there was a resurgence, as clubs popped up throughout Germany promoting the traditional workwear as a type of formal garment. This is when we began to see lederhosen worn more during celebrations and festivals and less for workwear. Nowadays, you mostly see lederhosen in the US during the month of September when many German-centric areas host their Oktoberfests.

Dirndls are a type of traditional dress originating from Austria, South Tyrol, and Bavaria. The design is based on the types of dresses that were traditionally worn by peasants who lived in the Alps. Typically, dirndls are composed of a bodice, a low-cut blouse with short sleeves, a full skirt, and an apron. Although originating as a heartier type of dress worn by peasants in the alps, the style was eventually adopted as high fashion by the upper classes in the 1870s. While some older women still wear the dirndl as an everyday dress, most younger women only wear the dress for formal occasions and traditional events. One fun little fact about dirndls is that the placement of the knot on the apron is an indicator of the woman's marital status. A knot tied on the woman's left side indicates that she is single, a knot tied on the right means that she is married, engaged or otherwise "taken", a knot tied in the front centre means that she is a virgin and a knot tied at the back indicates that the woman is widowed.

With this year’s Oktoberfest Zinzinnati celebration having come to a close this past Sunday, we thought it would be fun to share with you some photos from the event, and we even threw in a couple fun ones from the good people over at Wiesnkoenig just for good measure! Auf Wiedersehen!

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market - A Recap in Photos

Last week, we got to spend some time in beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah checking out Outdoor Retailer’s Summer Market. It’s always exciting to see what new ideas and trends are taking shape in the outdoor industry, and this year’s event was no different!

If you didn’t have a chance to make it out to this year’s show, or you just want to reminisce because you already miss the SLC, check out some of our favorite moments, products, and displays below!

Hemmer Design and the Love Summit 2017

Hemmer Design is both honored and excited to have been asked to present at this year's Love Summit, which will be taking place here in Cincinnati on October 12th and 13th. The Love Summit focuses on the intersection of smart business and compassionate leadership. 

Along with speaking at the event and leading a workshop, Hemmer Design Founder, Jessica Hemmer, was asked to contribute to the Love Summit Huffington Post blog. Well, our first blog made it up on the site earlier this week, and we couldn’t be happier to share it with you! To read the whole blog, click here.

To learn more about The Love Summit, click here.

Art & Design + Brunch = One Amazing Day

Here at Hemmer Design, we think of ourselves as incredibly fortunate to live in the beautiful city of Cincinnati – a place that boasts a community filled with amazing, creative people. We are even luckier to call so many of these creatives our friends. We love finding ways to pull these awesome people together to share meals, brainstorm around concepts and ideas, and work on projects. Having such a close-knit community of movers, shakers, and outside-of-the-box thinkers is nothing short of amazing and something we don’t want to get overlooked.

Which is why, over the past several months, my sister, Jessica Hemmer, has been hosting brunches where we’ve gathered together all our favorite people in one room to share an undoubtedly delicious, collectively curated meal once a month.  We love the effortlessness of the atmosphere that has naturally taken shape. People can share thoughts and ideas without pressure, all while connecting with old friends and meeting new people month over month. 

This month we decided to try something a little bit different. So, we reached out to our good friend Aaron Kent over at DIY Printing and came up with the idea to have a screen printing brunch!

Aaron was nice enough to let us invade his studio and provide us with everything we needed for a super fun, relaxing, art-filled day. And, after a short demonstration from Aaron on how to do monoprinting with screens, we all set off to create our own unique prints.

The day was absolutely awesome, and everyone created some really fun, and amazing work. Lucky for you, we decided to document it all, so you could see just how great it was. Check out our photo essay below, and let us know if you ever want to get involved! We’re certain we’ll be doing this again sometime soon.

Biking and Beauty: National Bike Month 2017

The flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, the sky is blue, and every morning the day just feels new. That can only mean one thing, that May is here, and that the days are finally long, warm, and clear!

Every year, almost everybody out there—except for those with some serious allergies—look forward to this magical time of year where things just feel…right. And, who can blame them? Waking up every day to the sounds of chirping birds and children laughing outside your windows would make even the grumpiest of people’s days a little brighter.

But May holds a little secret that often gets overlooked: it’s National Bike Month. And, today kicks off National Bike to Work Week!

Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast, National Bike Month was established in 1956. Since then, the month of May has served as the perfect month to showcase the many benefits of bicycling—and encourages folks of all skill levels to give biking a try.

When you really stop to think about it, there’s no better month of the year for bicycling. The weather is not yet too hot, and the cooler months have finally gone away. All the beautiful, life-improving things we mentioned earlier come out in full force, and there’s absolutely no better way to experience them than on a bike.

The League of American Bicyclists put it best, “Whether you bike to work or school; ride to save money or time; pump those pedals to preserve your health or the environment; or simply to explore your community, National Bike Month is an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many wonderful reasons to ride.” 

So, we invite you all to join us the rest of the week riding to work, cruising the city streets for good grub, and soaking in the sun while on a coffee run, because you’ll never have a better opportunity than now. And, if you don’t have a bike of your own, don’t worry! Cincinnati now has Red Bike stations throughout the city. For a full list of Red Bike stations, check out the map below.

The fun doesn’t stop there, in addition to National Ride Your Bike to Work Week, there are tons of other awesome bicycle events throughout the city for the remainder of May. Some of our favorites include Hike it Baby – Bike it Baby in Winton Woods on May 16th, a screening of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure at Esquire Theatre on May 17th, and Bike Polo Beginner’s Day on May 20th. For a full list of local Bike Month events, visit CityBeat.

See you outside, Cincinnati!

Struktur Event 2017--A Photo Essay


We recently got back from attending this year’s Struktur Event, and we gotta tell you, it was a blast! For those of you not in the know, Struktur is a creative conference held each spring in Portland, OR (this year’s event was held from April 25th-27th). Now in its fourth year, Struktur has always sought to create a one-of-a-kind atmosphere where designers and industry professionals can gather to share ideas, build relationships, and tackle the important topics of today, tomorrow, and beyond.

With the largest attendance record to date, this year’s event boasted an impressive lineup of speakers, workshops, panels, and activities, which provided attendees with an unforgettable experience.

Whether you couldn’t make it out, or you just want to relive the awesomeness over and over again, check out our short photo essay of some of our favorite moments from Struktur Event 2017 (including some shots of the Hemmer Design Experience Wall) below!

Looking Fresh

Every once and a while, you just need a new look. Sometimes it’s a new outfit, other times a new haircut, and sometimes it’s new headshots! Well, we were lucky enough to recently get together with our extremely talented friend Marlene Rounds to get just what the doctor ordered—some fresh-faced headshots—and we couldn’t be happier!

Marlene is a Cincinnati-based commercial photographer that specializes in food, interior, and product photography. She’s always had a love for photography (she’s been at it since grade school), and her work truly shows it.

Marlene Rounds

Marlene Rounds

Marlene went on to develop her photography chops at the Ohio Institute of Photography and Technology. Here, she earned her Associates Degree in product photography and lay down the groundwork for a burgeoning career.

After a short stint in Chicago, Marlene relocated to New York City where she honed her skills even further and became the talented photographer she is today. While in NY, she spent four years “teching” and six years shooting everything from editorial to ecommerce and advertising, all while earning a Bachelor’s of Business from the State University of New York.

In 2015, Marlene left NY and returned home to the city where she was raised, a city she knew and loved, the city of Cincinnati!

Marlene’s work is striking. She delivers a product that combines both art and advertising in a way that draws the viewer into the composition. She effectively marries form and function in a way that other photographers promise, but few can deliver on. And, above all else, she’s simply a pleasure to work with.

Long story short, her work is definitely worth checking out. So, if you haven’t already, head on over to her website,, and see what all the hype is about!

**All photos in this post were done by Marlene Rounds**

The Struktur Event 2017--Focusing on the Future

Spring is certainly in the air! The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and creatives from all different parts of the active, outdoor, and urban design industries are gearing up to head out to Portland for the 4th annual Struktur Event!

Co-Founders of the Struktur Event: Michelle Rose and Sam Ward

Struktur is a creative conference held each spring in Portland, OR (this year’s event will be held on April 25th-27th). Founded four years ago by the creative duo of Michelle Rose and Sam Ward, Struktur has always sought out to create a one-of-a-kind atmosphere where designers and industry professionals can gather to share ideas, build relationships, and tackle the important topics of today, tomorrow, and beyond.

Year over year, Michelle and Sam have done an amazing job landing some of the most interesting speakers in the industry, and this year’s event is no different. Keynote speakers like Amy Ross (Lead engineer at NASA on the Mars spacesuit), Michael DiTullo (Chief Design Officer at Sound United), and Jan Chipchase (Futurist at Studio D Radiodurans) not only pack serious credentials or promise attention-grabbing presentations, but also define the theme of this year’s event: Inflection Points.

Amy Ross: Lead Engineer at NASA on the Mars Spacesuit

Futurists describe inflection points as moments when the range of possible futures suddenly shifts. These shifts in the range of possible futures are especially important to designers who have to prepare themselves for success in our rapidly changing world. As technologies continue to advance active, outdoor, and urban design, industry professionals must work at the intersection of innovation and technology to create novel products for the future.

Struktur points out on their website that “against the backdrop of disruptions in climate, trade, and manufacturing, new practices of generative design, bio-materials, and automation are moving into focus. Sustainability and ‘Made in America’ stories are shifting from novelty to necessity. As technical and performance gear continue to merge into the mainstream, the active and outdoor industries are well positioned to be a major influencer in what we wear.”

This year’s event focuses on identifying these inflection points, sharing ideas about how to get ahead of the curve, and creating new relationships that will help lead to new design solutions.

So, if you’re looking for an event that’ll help you set yourself up for future success, make sure to check out Struktur Event 2017.

And, if you’re already planning on attending, make sure to find the Hemmer Design team and say hello! We’ll be curating a fun, interactive, experience project, and we’d love to see your smiling faces!

For more information about Struktur, check out their website here, or this more detailed preview from Trend Insight.

The Hottest Dance Party of the Year: Cincinnati Ballet's Club B: Grace + Grit

The Hottest Dance Party of the Year

With two amazing art museums (the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Contemporary Arts Center), one of the highest ranking design schools in the country (UC’s DAAP), the always wonderful SCPA, the world-renowned Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and the just-as-highly esteemed Cincinnati Ballet, it’s safe to say that Cincinnati takes art and design pretty seriously.

Which is why we were both flattered and humbled when we recently got the opportunity to partner up and help out with the Cincinnati Ballet’s Club B: Grace + Grit event! Grace + Grit was promoted as the hottest dance party of the year, and we’ve got to admit, it definitely lived up to the hype!

This year’s Club B event sought to juxtapose the two driving forces it takes to be a ballet dancer in our contemporary world: grace and grit. Ballet dancers need the grace to display perfection on stage and the grit to survive the grueling training behind the curtain.

Club B: Grace + Grit successfully brought these opposing forces to life in the form of Cincinnati’s hottest dance party. The night consisted of dinner, dancing and cocktails. Upscale casual dress was accented by a backdrop of rough-and-tumble details while MadTree Brewery set an industrial backdrop.

In true Cincinnati Ballet fashion, the event sold out and went off without a hitch. The flash mob coordinated by Danfix and choreography displayed by the Cincinnati Ballet’s Second Company were simply amazing!

If you happened to be one of the unfortunate few that weren’t able to make it out to this year’s event, you’re in luck! We put together this beautiful photo essay to show you some of our favorite details, so you don’t make the same mistake next year!





A Look at What Drives Hemmer Design

A Look at What Drives Hemmer Design

Sometimes we get asked why we wanted to start a collaborative design studio that focuses on apparel innovation in Cincinnati, Ohio. When we hear this question, we often give the expected answers: “Cincinnati is a great place going through an amazing renaissance of creativity,” “Innovation is at the heart of the growth of this city,” and, “We want to help support the local economy.” What we don’t often say is that Cincinnati has had a bright and prolific history when it comes to fashion and apparel.