The “Säckler” – on the track of this tradition

Monday, 6.20 am… Usually I would set the alarm clock to slumber now, but today I am literally jumping out of bed. Okay, I admit it, I exaggerated a bit… But still, getting up this Monday morning is a lot easier than usual. I am looking forward to my visit to the “Säckler” Bernadette Fritzenwallner. Some of you are for sure curious what a “Säckler” is. The same thing happened to me when I first heard about this job title, but you will learn more about it later…
A little sleepy I make my way to beautiful Kleinarl. It is a cold Monday morning and outside it is still dark. About ten minutes later I arrive and am delighted by the sight of the beautiful old farmhouse in which Bernadette lives – a quaint house. Later I learn that this was already built in 1727. Silently, I open the front door. Bernadette is already waiting for me in the hallway and leads me into her studio. This is where the artworks are created, I think as my gaze wanders through the room. At the sight of the many beautiful pieces of leather you can immediately recognize with how much love Bernadett creates her products. Because I have many questions that I would like to ask Bernadette, I have to gather myself…

Reaching the goal with persistence and talent

What interests me most is how Bernadette decided on practicing this particular profession. So I ask her if it was her childhood dream to become a “Säckler”. She laughs and says: “I also did not know that this profession exists for a long time”. Now I am even more curious how she got to know the profession… She continues to explain that she went to the agricultural school in Bruck, where she discovered her love to craftsmanship. Afterwards she worked in Salzburg in the Getreidegasse as a tailor. Like me, Bernadette loves to walk through the streets and to look at the shop windows. One day in a store for traditional Austrian clothes she saw the price tag at a “Lederhose”: “Made in own studio”. After that she began to do research and a little while later she started to learn the profession of a “Säckler” in Salzburg.

Well, I won’t tease you any longer. Everyone who has not known or guessed it, a “Säckler” is someone who makes leather clothing, such as trouser, skirts, coats and accessories. ;-) “One has to be persistent, ambitious and of course talented”, Bernadette states. “The first months were hard”. The love and the fascination to this very seldom profession as well as the joy about her work let her continue, and so Bernadette successfully graduated her apprenticeship, but also her examination for the master craftman’s diploma. In May 2014 she finally opened her own studio at her parents’ farm as a “Säckler”.

Worth knowing

18 – 20 “Lederhosen” are produced per year in Bernadette’s studio. The maximum production time of a “Lederhose” is about 140 hours.>> In Salzburg, Tyrol, Styria and Upper Austria the inhabitants wear their „Lederhosen“ the most. Hereby each federal state has at least one own design. ;-) Bernadette buys her leather only from Austrian tanners. For the necessary smoothness they use cod tran (fish fat).

The workshop from Bernadette. The farm where Bernadette growed up.

Photo credits: Christina Löcker