Haute Couture enjoyed in Steinbach

Anna H. W. Reimer,wearing her “Sunday best" circa 1906.

Steinbach Mennonites of yesteryear very much enjoyed fashion! And that included men and women alike. One of the biggest misconceptions of the early Mennonites in Steinbach is that fashion trends and flashy garments were “not allowed”. The fact is that much of the “worldly dress” taboo came about as a result of over-zealous American fundamentalism that was brought up from the south.

While many congregations in Steinbach encouraged simplicity, fashion itself was not at all something that was “forbidden”.  It may accurately be said that the idea of "dress code regulations" eventually slipped in with many other adopted legalisms of some Mennonite groups in the mid 20th century. The reality however, is that Steinbach'ers absolutely loved new styles and current fashion trends, which is evident by the many garment shops that flourished in the town. Rieger Clothing, Reimers Dress Shop and Ketlers Fashions were some of the more well known garment businesses.

 

A stunningly beautiful photo of a Steinbach couple that might only be rivaled by  a Russian Tsar and Grand Dutchess!  Entrepreneur J.R. Friesen and Maria (Reimer) on their wedding day 1903.  A fashion statement that has stood the test of time! J.R. Friesen's father was the patriarch of the Friesen family business dynasty in Steinbach Manitoba.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  • Toews Mitchell on

    A Cdn mag called “Agnes and True” ran a story of mine called, “The Grittiness of Mango Chiffon.” It has to do with dress taboos in Steinbach and I have a fictitious name in place for “Ketler’s,” a shop owned by the parents of my friend “M.” M’s neighbour “I” is the true owner of the story which she was gracious enough to share with me, as yarn for spinning. I’m hoping the story will show up again, somewhere, sometime, along with some others of a similar sort.


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