Hungarian Fashion Designer Introduces MU Students to Native Folk Embroidery in Couture Collection

Fresh from Paris Fashion Week, Hungarian designer Tünde Hrivnák traveled to Marymount University to introduce fashion design majors to the traditional folk art of Hungarian hand embroidery, a hallmark of her couture collections. The workshop and fashion show was part of an ongoing educational and cultural exchange made possible by the host site relationship between Marymount and the Washington, D.C., American Hungarian Heritage House. 

Hrivnák was accompanied by models from her Budapest design house who showcased pieces from her line. Hand embroidery artisan Bernadett Papp from Mezõkövesd demonstrated stitch techniques and modeled a vintage regional embroidered outfit. Papp has been officially recognized by the Hungarian government for her craftsmanship and dedication to keeping the centuries-old native folk art alive. 

Hungarian State Secretaries of the Department of Agriculture Andrea Gulyas and Zsolt V. Nemeth, who is also a member of Parliament, both have a keen interest in preserving Hungary’s artistic heritage and traveled to Marymount as part of the workshop delegation. Erika and Stefan Fedor, parents of a Marymount alumnus, facilitated the event and helped translate for the group. Stefan is an American Hungarian Heritage House board member.

With her passion for intertwining traditional folk art patterns with innovative contemporary designs, Hrivnák has become a pivotal figure in the revival of Hungarian embroidery.  ”I grew up in the rural town of Tótkomlós where traditions are held in high esteem, hence my love for folk motifs,” she said. She was taught to sew as a young girl by her seamstress mother and grandmother. Her couture collections, wedding dress line, and corporate, event and sports association uniform collections all incorporate richly colored, floral and geometrical embroidery patterns and are characterized by “the meticulous handwork of the Hungarian folk art motifs.” She uses the traditional Hungarian flower pattern, such as the regional motifs from Kalocsa, Kalotaszeg, and Mez?kövesd, often updating by changing out the national vibrant red for white.

MU Professor of Fashion Design & Merchandising Latisha Winston said, “It was an extraordinary real-world teaching moment which expanded our students’ horizons as they gained an appreciation for preserving irreplaceable traditions in hand-crafted artistry and finding ways in the world of high-end fashion to make it fresh and new in contemporary designs.”

Gifts were exchanged at a luncheon in honor of the Hungarian guests and attended by  Marymount officials, including President Matthew D. Shank and Vice President for Advancement Joe Foster. Fedor, who was instrumental in putting together Marymount’s American Hungarian Heritage House alliance, explained, “Marymount serving as the cultural host site offers an entire campus to host lectures, programs and performances that build relationships with the Hungarian-American community, as it enriches the global mosaic of the University community.”

At an official signing ceremony in Budapest earlier in the year, Marymount entered into an educational and training cooperation agreement with Hungary’s National University of Public Service (NUPS) – a bilateral alliance between the two universities focused initially on criminal justice, forensics and cybersecurity curriculum. “This opportunity for a cultural and educational exchange in fashion design and merchandising is a great example of how the cooperative educational agreement could expand into other disciplines,” Fedor added.



Hungarian embroidery artisan Bernadett Papp, modeling a 150-year old hand-embroidered native skirt and blouse, and Hungarian fashion designer Tünde Hrivná showcase regional embroidery 

patterns on linens at the MU fashion design student workshop. 


Hungarian State Secretaries of the Department of Agriculture Andrea Gulyas,wearing a Tünde Hrivnák designer jacket, and Zsolt V. Nemeth, who is also a Member of Parliament, discuss preserving Hungarian native folk art traditions at the Marymount fashion workshop. (Photo by Leslie E. Kossoff/LK Photos)


Bernadett Papp models the back of a vintage native embroidered skirt and blouse as Tünde Hrivnák (forefront) explains the various regional patterns. Models from Hrivnák’s Budapest design house are wearing Hrivnák originals using native and original embroidered patterns. (Photo by Leslie E. Kossoff/LK Photos)


Marymount students Hymoin Ree and Monique Casimiro (seated) practice new embroidery skills. Casimiro will use Hungarian embroidery in her designs for Portfolio in Motion, an annual runway event showcasing the designs of MU Fashion Design & Merchandising majors. Standing: Zsolt V. Nemeth, MU Professor Latisha Winston, Bernadette Papp and Andrea Gulyas. (Photo by Leslie E. Kossoff/LK Photos)


The Hungarian delegation at the cultural exchange workshop at Marymount.  Professor Latisha Winston (standing far left) and her class listen as American Hungarian Heritage House board member Stefan Fedor (standing second from left) translates for fashion designer Tunde Hrivnák (standing third from left). (Photo by Leslie E. Kossoff/LK Photos)