Sometimes in life, you meet someone so exceptional that they change your outlook on life forever; they inspire you and everything looks and feels new again. For us, meeting, fashion icon Esther Perbandt was one of these moments. If you live in Berlin you have probably seen her around the city; it’s hard not to notice her androgynous fairytale-like small figure all dressed in black, golden bangles jingling and heels clicking down the street. She sure makes an impression even in passing, but we were dazzled to find that if you are let into Esther’s world you discover that behind the stylish armor, sits an exceptionally talented, incredibly hardworking woman with a spirit that touched our souls deeply time and time again.

Esther, both a brand in herself and a leading fashion designer, has long been a pioneer in designing beautiful clothes suitable for any gender, long before it became fashionable. She was Germany’s first designer to bring a wedding collection to market celebrating the legalization of gay marriage. But the cosmos of Esther is so much more than meets the eye.


Esther is a Gesamtkunstwerk on a mission, her purpose: to touch people deeply.

Her fashion never follows trends or market rules and she is one of very few designers that still masters the art of storytelling, not for marketing reasons, but to empower her customers to carve out the individual beauty of every person. Working solely with black, it seems she has reinvented the color in so many different ways, ingraining deep emotions that have been often described as providing the wearer with soft, beautiful protective armor. She says that her goal is not to dress people up, but instead to provide a beautiful frame to accentuate each and every unique personality.

Her inspiration stems from a myriad of collaborations in the art, literature and theater world and then there is music.  Next, to a long-standing collaboration with musician Sven Marquard, Esther also touches people with her voice. “As a child she said, I always wanted to be a rockstar” – and so she did, taking up vocal lessons at the age of 40, she enchanted just recently with her first concert.

But behind all the success and glamour stands an incredibly hard-working individual, so devoted it seems Esther never sleeps. She often works in her studio and flagship store six or more days a week, until late at night. To compensate for Berlin’s skyrocketing real estate costs, she also works as a manager for the whole apartment complex of the building that houses her flagship store, so that her brand can continue to showcase surrounded by all the big brand names.

To mark the launch of her new line “To the moon“, released as part of her 15-year anniversary as a designer, she had her hands stained in black ink from fabric dyes, citing it as a compliment for all those designers who still do hands-on work themselves. Her hands celebrate the thousands of hours that have gone into her work, demonstrating the pain, blood, and toil that is required to create such work, and was discussed in her talk”The long-lost art of storytelling in fashion and beauty“.

And above all that Esther is also an incredibly spirited soul and true friend – Thank you for letting us play a role in your cosmos.

Find out more about the cosmos of Esther at our Meet Feministasspecial


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