The leather shorts known as "Lederhosen" are traditionally worn in many Alpine regions, but they are also the apparel of choice for many Oktoberfest fans.
Though Lederhosen are often associated with Bavaria, the leather breeches are not exclusive to southern Germany. In fact, they are shared by other alpine areas including select parts of Switzerland, much of Austria and Italy's South Tyrol, which was formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. They were originally worn for hard work, but the material used – tanned sheep or goat skin for the lower classes and deer skin for the more well-off – made the breeches soft, light and durable. Lederhosen's popularity decreased in the 19th century as preference turned to long pants, but Bavarian teacher Josef Vogl hatched a plan with his drinking buddies in Bayrischzell to found a club dedicated to preserving the breeches. They were worn by Austrian Emperor Franz Josef and even made it to fashion runways.
Lederhosen were not always popular. They nearly disappeared in the 1880s! But thanks to one Bavarian teacher and his drinking buddies, the shorts will fill Oktoberfest tents. DW presents some surprising lederhosen facts.