Madeira & AMD München present: Frida Kahlo - Fashion & Pain

One look into the shop windows of the fashion capitals shows that embroidery is present and fashionable. Long ago, the image changed from a relic of Grandmother's time to a cool design element. The cooperative project "Frida Kahlo – Fashion & Pain" between the thread factory, The Academy of Fashion and Design Munich and ZSK Embroidery Machines shows what arises when traditional trade meets curiosity and the urge to create. To encourage participation, the project was formulated as a competition by the representatives from Madeira and the teachers of the project group. With their own photo shoots, the winners and some of the participants are now showing their individual pieces for the first time.


Framework of an embroidery design

What started as a lecture series between the family-owned company from Freiburg and the Munich fashion and design academy turned into a creative embroidery design project over the last summer semester. Under the semester’s theme "fashion and pain", the newly designed garments were inspired by the life of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Another prominent personality, chosen by the students, should create a contrast to the painter.


Watch a video about the project

At the top: the winners of the embroidery contest


The three competitors with the most outstanding designs - Lukas Burkia (1st place) Helena El Malek (2nd place) and Theresa Höbard (3rd place) had the unique opportunity to present their exhibitions at major textile and fashion fairs. Lukas Burkia and his "iPhone dress" were up for a journey to PREMIÈRE VISION in Paris, Helena El Malek visited MUNICH FABRIC START with her Lady Gaga-inspired faux leather dress and Theresa Höbart presented her cosmic design at the inhouse exibithion from ZSK Embroidery Machines in Krefeld, Germany.


From left to right: Helena El Malek, Lukas Burkia und Theresa Höbart

Madeira embroidery award & shortlist

Exposed talents

Pia Leberfinger creates contrast with daring colours and material mix in her "maskirovka" design.


Noémi Lorenz-Wagner's plush E.T. wears Frida Kahlo's hair ornaments and monobrow.

Mountain calling

Sarah Rademacher recruits Reinhold Messner for her team and conquers the hurdles of industrial embroidery with her embroidered down jacket.

Evaluation criteria

To evaluate the overall concept, the jury considered the following aspects: 


  • Material mix (different threads, fabrics, print, applications, etc.)
  • Reference to the task "Frida Kahlo"
  • The interaction with embroidery as an embellishment technique
  • Originality and creativity of the design.

Some students also used their embroidery design as a decorative accessory for matching bags; others combined machine embroidery with prints or implemented elements from hand embroidery. The entire planning process happened with a view to industrial and financial practicability.

For reasons of time and budget, the samples were implemented by a specialist company, so the students had to communicate their ideas for their desired realisation of the design.

The participants

Shortlist & Award - all participants without footage: Johanna Goess-Saurau, Mohamed Noor



All participants in alphabetical order 

with footage: Lukas Burkia, Theresa Höbarth, Celine Kronbeck, Pia Leberfinger, Sophia Lindner, Helena El Malek, Alisa Neu, Noemi Lorenz, Sarah Rademacher, Claudia Scharf

without footage: Amira, Johanna Goess-Saurau, Marietta Leist, Mohamed Noor, Laura Sagebiel, Constanze Schiessl, Mareike Seegers

Teachers of the project group: Monika Hutter, Ulrike Nägele, Shirin Seyed

About AMD Academy Fashion & Design:

Designers, fashion managers, fashion journalists, marketing experts and design managers are trained at the renowned Academy of Fashion & Design. 1,700 students are taught at its locations in Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Munich, Berlin and, from 2019, also in Wiesbaden. In the Fashion Design (B.A.) study programme, they learn the creative, manual and technical expertise to design progressive collections.

Do you want to see more? With pleasure! Visit us on Facebook and Instagram. There you will find extensive photographic material and interesting additional information about the students and their exciting projects.