The slightly different journey to the new collection.

25 hours by train across Europe from Aschaffenburg to Porto.

Our goal with DIRTS is to build a brand for sustainable, long-lasting and high-quality streetwear. Our credo is not fast fashion, but slow fashion. Our collections are deliberately manageable and we prefer to focus on selected cuts and colors that will remain an integral part of our customers' wardrobes for a long time. Our fall/winter collection will be available in a few days. That's why we made our way to Portugal again and visited our producers. There we took a look at how our beloved garments are made. To get there, we took the word “slow” from the term slow fashion very literally and decided to cover the route Aschaffenburg - Porto by train: 25 hours travel time - 2500km across Europe!

A travel report from our owner Philipp about the trip to Portugal:

Monday, 4:58 a.m. - the alarm goes off. Had a handball game the night before and didn't get to sleep until shortly after midnight. Unfortunately also lost. But no matter, the anticipation of the trip gets me out of bed and I'll definitely be able to close my eyes a bit in the next 25 hours. Two trolley suitcases are already packed and ready to go on foot to the train station. Aschaffenburg is still sleeping...

5:36 a.m. Platform 8 Aschaffenburg Hbf first with the RegionalExpress to Frankfurt. The wild ride begins. The train was packed. Apparently some early risers commute to the Main metropolis. I'm somewhat awake and even without my first coffee. First call my colleague Marc, who comes to Frankfurt from Rüsselsheim: “Are you awake?”

6:24 a.m. Arrival at Frankfurt Central Station. Marc was awake and greeted me at the platform with his camera running. He accompanies the trip and is responsible for the film and photographic documentation. First of all: he did a great job and took the video documentation very seriously. After just a few minutes I was slightly annoyed by the camera in my face. But it could also have been due to the time. First coffee now.

6:58 a.m. Departure with the ICE to Paris. You can complain a lot about Deutsche Bahn, but if you book early and get a seat in 1st class at a super saver price (€70 per person), then it's definitely the most relaxed way to travel from city to city. So we head towards the city of love at 300 km/h at sunrise. Shortly before Strasbourg, our neighbor asked if I was an actor from a daily soap. He's already seen me somewhere. What a video camera like this can do on a trip... for Marc, of course, it was a hit and the running joke for the next 23 hours was born. By the way, we then got into conversation with the man who asked the question: a German emigrant who now lives mainly in Nepal and runs a cashmere wool production business there. He is currently on the way to his customer Hermès. Haute couture meets a small label from Ashberry.

10:40 a.m. Arrival in Paris Gare de l'Est. The sun is shining and the air of the city is blowing around our noses. We are briefly sad that this is only a short stopover. So off to the metro and across the city to Gare Montparnasse. From there you continue south with the TGV. Hopefully we'll see the Eiffel Tower briefly.

30 minutes later arrival Gare Montparnasse. “Come on, let’s go out quickly and soak up some Parisian flair somewhere.” The area around Montparnasse doesn’t seem to be the most beautiful corner and a view of the Eiffel Tower or other sights is completely out of the question. But found a typical Parisian bistro with espresso for €5. Cheers to the stupid tourists.

12:47 p.m. Departure by TGV from Paris to Hendaye on the Spanish border. You have to give it to the French - they can train! Seats and interior in the TGV à la bonheur. Also fascinating: after just a 2-hour drive we are already in Bordeaux without a stopover. This is very fast! But from Bordeaux onwards things are much more leisurely and we need just as long again for the last quarter. The mood on the train is good. Dozed briefly and otherwise worked diligently on the laptop. After all, it's Monday and not a vacation trip. WiFi is also super stable. So far a perfect train journey with no delays or other incidents. It works!

5:35 p.m. Arrival Hendaye: small town, small train station right on the border with Spain. Last chance for French food before we board the night train through Spain. So get out of the train station and check the location. The place doesn't look like much: a bakery with Basque specialties and a pub smile at us. So we stock up on baked goods and then treat ourselves to two beers with a view of the tranquil station building. “Monsieur, l'addition s'il te plaît” – “douze euros!” What 12€ for two small beers? The innkeeper says the government is to blame. Everything has become more expensive and he is an ardent supporter of the yellow vests. Ok, we have to go and my French isn't good enough for more in-depth discussions.

Now it's getting serious, the night train is waiting: 11 hour journey through the whole of Spain. Marc asks: “Do we actually have sleeping cabins?” Me: “I have no idea. I couldn’t choose when booking, but I’ll assume so.”

6:30 p.m. , we board the train. I was wrong. There are no sleeping cabins. An open-plan compartment with old, worn out fabric seats is the reality. It's tight, full, warm and it smells like sweat. Everything we had previously experienced in terms of comfort on the ICE and TGV was blown away within seconds. We sobered up and collapsed into our seats and the train started rolling. I have to think of the legendary answer in the family duel: “Name me a place with little legroom.” - “Spain!” 20 years later I finally understand the answer. But it doesn't help, just go to the bar in the on-board bistro. The mood lifts there. We meet mainly young Interrail travelers and treat ourselves to a few more beers in the hope that they will help us fall asleep later. Meanwhile, I try again in vain to explain the sport of handball to an American.

10:00 p.m.: the train is somewhere in Spanish no-man's land. We decide to go to our seats and try to get some sleep. After all, we have to get out again at 4:45 a.m. to switch to the last leg to Porto. The situation in the open-plan compartment remains unchanged: full, cramped, for some reason the heating cannot be turned down and fresh air is something else. Well, let's try it: put in the headphones, put on some relaxing music and close your eyes. The train rumbles along Spanish tracks at a snail's pace. After 10 minutes the seat back stings my left hip. Change of position. After 10 minutes the seat back stings my right hip. What's more, the train driver seems to really feel like stopping and going in some Spanish provincial station every 20 minutes. The dilemma is perfect - getting some sleep is out of the question. My alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. - it could have been that I was sleeping soundly and we didn't want to miss our stop. Of course I was awake and was now just happy that we could get off this train straight away. I turn on Google Maps and check our position on the map. Strange, it's still quite a long way to the next stop... Crap! Forgot the time change - Portugal is an hour behind. I was happy too early, so I held on for another hour. By the way, Marc can't sleep either, but he hasn't been in the mood for films for a long time.

4:45 a.m. - it's done! The night train to Lisbon reaches Coimbra, a city in the center of Portugal, and we can finally get out and breathe some fresh air.

5:10 a.m. Departure from Coimbra to Porto: only 1.5 hours to the destination. Now we've both been more or less without sleep for over 24 hours. There is silence on the train. The mood could be better, but the goal is now within reach.

6:46 a.m. Arrival in Porto: we've reached our destination! Pure relief and a little laughter flash across our faces. How nice it would be if we could go to our apartment now and get some sleep. Instead, we have a tight schedule ahead of us: 9 a.m. meeting in our production and checking the last samples for the new collection. At 11 a.m. Katharina, our booked model, arrives from Lisbon. By train, of course. And from 12 p.m. it's time for a photo shoot with the new collection. Marc and I are ready. After all, we had enough sleep on the night train ;-)

Tuesday, 10:00 p.m.: the day is coming to an end. Finally in the apartment. We've been awake for almost 40 hours now. Photo shoot is in the can. Samples for the new collection have been confirmed. Off to bed! On Wednesday we go back to the factory and discuss new projects with our producers. Thursday then enjoy free time and postage before heading back to Germany in the afternoon.

Well, we don't want to hide the return journey: the choice was not a train, but a flight. We had appointments again on Friday and if you can get from Porto to Aschaffenburg by plane in just 4 hours and pay significantly less than by train, then it's difficult to sit on the train for 25 hours again. Of course, we attach great importance to sustainability and ensure that our business trips are as climate-friendly as possible to arrival and departure. But sometimes there is no other way and every flight less is a good start.

A little anecdote about the return flight: Our flight from Porto to Lisbon was delayed by 2 hours and so we missed our connecting flight to Frankfurt. So we were rebooked on a plane the next morning and had to spend another night in Lisbon. In the end we were on the road again for almost 24 hours. We could have taken the train...




Back to blog