Fittingly, our interview with Hungarian fashionista Dora Henger about Budapest style takes place in the café of design hotel Lánchíd19 where she has set up a temporary office until she opens her first boutique next door.
The daughter of entrepreneurs and a product designer by training, 29 year-old Dora Henger is one half of the chic duo behind online store, Our Style. We chat to her about Budapest style and design and the local fashion scene.
Q. Tell us what you do.
A. I run www.ourstyle.hu, an online platform for young Hungarian fashion designers. We started it six months ago, so there’s a lot of work to be done but it is very exciting. We learn something new every day. We started it as a street style blog (http://ourstyle.freeblog.hu) 3.5 year ago. It was the first such blog in Hungary and quickly became popular.
Through the blog I connected with a lot of our designers and met my partner Ange Sándorfi a year ago, and the idea was born. Our goal is to make more people realize that buying local and supporting young designers who put their hearts into their products is a form of giving back while they can enjoy the products they are wearing. I feel very fortunate that I can work with such beautiful creations.
Q. When did you become interested in fashion?
A. I have always been interested in fashion. I watched Fashion TV when I was a teenager, but at that time it all felt really far away. I didn’t think I could actually live from this. I got into fashion more seriously in Sweden and through the blog in Hungary and other countries, and I realized that this could be a business too.
Q. What makes Budapest special for a fashionista?
A. The small fashion designers that are difficult to find. The creative part of the city might not be so visible to a common tourist of Budapest, but if you meet the right people you can find a small community of talented people in each segment around the fashion industry. If your main goal is shopping, there are a couple of small stores where you can find great pieces, though most designers only have their workshops as their showrooms. In addition to our website we are opening a showroom next to the design hotel Lánchíd19 in the 1st District right on the Danube shore. People can come there and find some gorgeous pieces.
Q. How do you describe ‘Budapest style’?
A. Right now, it is rather safe. Both in shapes and colors. This is changing though. Just when the blog started almost four years ago we had difficulty in finding really good looking and unique people. Now it is much easier. Women like to show off their figures, especially when they go out. Unfortunately many men still think they should not care so much about fashion, so there are still few men with great style. Many people, even in the city dress quite casually too.
Q. And your own style?
A. I like to have kind of a feminine and sexy look, but with some pieces/details that suggest I’m a strong woman. Though I guess my style for an event or day depends a lot on my mood that day.
Q. How should visitors to Budapest dress?
A. During the day, flat comfortable shoes are best, as you can reach most things by walking so if your feet hurt after two hours you won’t enjoy your day. For the night, it depends on where you go out – you can put on your heels and a sexy dress, if you go out in the 5th district, for instance, or you can just stay in whatever you had on, if you go to one of the famous romkocsmas (ruin bars). If you want to be looked at on the streets, wear something extravagantly colorful or a rain jacket with polka dots and see what happens.
Q. Quintessential Budapest designers to buy?
Q. Up-and-coming fashion designers to look out for?
A. KEPP Showroom. They are still students, but I love their already developed, modern, minimalist style and great quality.
Q. Best shopping street or neighbourhood?
A. Probably the streets around Astoria, Károlyi Kert and Ferencziek tere.
Q. Favourite shops?
A. Mono Fashion Shop, Sugar!shop (candy shop and a collection of lots of crazy things), Írók Könyvesboltja (book store with great pieces of literature plus you can find my favourite magazine, The Room, in Hungarian, but distributed all around the globe); and, soon, our showroom in the 1st District on Lánchíd utca 17.
Q. Best places for people-watching?
A. The restaurant and wine-shop, Klassz; Déryné Bistro, on the Buda side, for great interior design, nice atmosphere; Andrássy út, Budapest’s most expensive street, but since it is home to the Opera and Budapest’s ‘Broadway’, you can find a lot of people connected to music, art, fashion, acting etc, there; Gödör, Instant, and Merlin, if you are looking for underground culture, concerts, parties.
Q. Best source of information on local fashion?
Q. A quintessential Budapest souvenir?
A. A LOKALwear earring or necklace (Ed: the earrings Dora is wearing in the photos above).
Q. Other than Budapest, your favourite fashion city?
Q. The one item you can’t travel without?
A. A great pair of jeans.