Interview by Inken Bornholdt. Photographs by Leah Stuhltrager.

Esther Perbandt distinctively embodies the Avant-garde spirit synonymous with Germany. Operating from her atelier in Mitte for seven years, she has successfully established an international reputation. Her custom made bags, jewelry and garments combine a high craftsmanship and sophistication with the sensual, elegant, strength of shapes and silhouettes. Her products are a result of restless experimentation, a practice she surmounts without sacrificing authenticity.



DS: How do you see your design embrace contemporary aesthetics?  

EP: Working and living in the hub of the city naturally prompts my creative process. I’m not trying too hard to take up every new direction around me, which would probably take away the energy. I am not sticking to the box either. My designs don’t emerge on paper but in my head. They evolve continually while I’m on the move.



DS: In which ways are you and your personality present in your products?

EP: Over the last three years, I have grown into the product of my own label. I have literally become its figurehead. My wardrobe is entirely made up of pieces of my own collections, apart from the black socks, black underwear, a black jeans or a black long sleeve maybe. My haircut itself is the brand image. Again with this show, the models were all wearing wigs cut à la Esther. I find myself in situations even asking if I as the designer creating the label or if the label creates its designer.





DS: What is your process of translating an idea to creating a physical item?

EP: I don’t create on paper. Paper seems too patient. For someone very talented at drawing, most designs look genius. But if it comes to making them physical, you realize it doesn’t work at all sometimes. All of my designs arise from my head; I can see their images in completed vision floating through my mind. Of course, there is the difficulty to get them out there into real objects. I need to transfer them directly into the fit. Often they take shape best in conversation with my assistant Monika Ackermann. She has been great help in perfecting the ‘Esther signature’.




DS: You just started creating items for men. What differences do you find in creating items for men in contrast to women?

EP: The inspiration for both lines has been the same. Presenting my first men line was a real challenge. Although people were saying, just do your women’s wear simply for men. It turned out to be the other way in the end:  Every single piece I created for men I wanted to have a female version of.


esther portrait

photo of the designer, courtesy of Esther Perbandt

DS: What is next for you and your design company?

EP: The feedback on the show was extremely positive- a good base to start off. Now it’s about selling the collection. Next is the Paris trade fair in March.



Selections from Ester Perbandt’s Collections can be found worldwide.

For a complete listing of where to find her internationally visit: http://www.estherperbandt.com




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