Ole (18) wears historical clothing and builds model ships

18-year-old Ole Kuhtz from Celle is interested in times long past: privately he wears clothes from the 19th and 20th centuries. He also builds and paints ships modeled on the 1800s. His pictures can currently be seen in an exhibition in Celle.


When Ole walks through the center of Celle, he gets looks – some irritated, some curious. Because the 18-year-old dresses differently than his peers, he wears neither sneakers nor a hoodie, but pointed trousers and a hat. Ole dresses in the style of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Thanks to his medium-sized, slim stature, the clothes and suits from back then fit him – on average, people were smaller than today.

Sustainability and the past go hand in hand

“I was looking for economically, ecologically and socially sustainable clothing,” explains the youngster his style of clothing. He also sees his clothes as an investment and wants to wear them for as long as possible – the 18-year-old also spends more money for this quality, usually between 100 and 200 euros per pair of trousers.

Ole with a shirt, bow tie, pointed trousers, suspenders with buttons, summer hat and cane in the old town of Celle. Photo: Rainer Drose

Ole makes his selection after a thorough examination of the pieces. He wears both real and fake clothes that are close to the originals and even made from real fabrics of the time. He pays attention to authenticity. “But I wouldn’t claim to dress historically correctly,” says the Celler, original clothing from the respective period is rare. In addition to the sustainability aspect, his interest in history is also decisive for his choice of clothes. “What fascinates me about history is what lies hidden. The interesting thing is exploring the mystical.”

From fashion to Oil painting

His interest in history goes beyond fashion: Ole expresses what is possibly his greatest passion when it comes to painting. The most common motif: ships around 1800. As with the clothing, authenticity and attention to detail are very important to him. “As an artist, you don’t primarily learn to draw, but to look, you have to find your gaze,” says Ole. The teenager taught himself to paint and also does a lot of research on what objects of the respective era looked like. In the meantime he knows his way around, but it often takes him weeks to months to complete an oil painting. “My style is detailed. That’s important to me,” says the student. While he admires the artworks of Dalí, Da Vinci and Derek Gardner, he doesn’t want to copy anything. He is currently exhibiting ten of his paintings in the Celler Coffee Shop. Ole reports that his pictures are selling well.

The reactions from those around him to his unusual hobby and the special style of clothing were consistently positive. He is also a little better known in Celle and is sometimes spoken to on the street, which makes the students happy. Through his Instagram account he wants to market his art, network with others and also inspire with his clothes. Passionate about the past and Instagram? No contradiction for Ole. “I pick what I like. Social media is not only good and not only bad. You have to look at it differently.”

Ole in front of one of his pictures in the Celler Coffee Shop. Photo: Rainer Drose

Career goal: boat builder

The fascination for ships even goes into practice: Ole builds and tinkers with small model ships. This often takes years, he reports, but the process is important to him. “I now manage to have the patience to work on such long projects. The results don’t come if you give up after a few days.” Ole would like to continue what he’s already doing on a small scale later: after graduating from high school, he’s aiming for an apprenticeship as a boat builder. Here he can combine the joy of manual work with valuable materials with his love of ships. He likes to “get it right”. The novel he wants to write should also be about ships. Unsurprisingly, the plot is set to take place in 1800.

Produce yourself instead of consuming

Although Ole would love to travel back in time, he likes to live in the here and now – although he doesn’t necessarily have the same interests as others his age. He doesn’t like to party, and alcohol doesn’t excite him as much. “Always finding a middle ground, that’s important to me.” In general, Ole focuses on his own production, his own creativity and not the consumption of things.

Overall, the celler makes a calm impression. What he does, he does carefully and takes his time: “I prefer to walk five minutes longer and be more relaxed and make sure I don’t have any stress.” His faith is also an important anchor for the Christian. “He who sows will also reap,” he paraphrases a Bible verse. “But there is also a time when it has to grow – it’s the same in art.”

By Sonja Scheller


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