vor 2 years

Esther Perbandt designs a stylish phone purse together with BIKINI BERLIN.

With architectural shapes and distinct lines, the designs of Esther Perbandt have long become staples of the very distinctive style of the German capital.

Her fashion shows count to the top must-go events during the Berlin Fashion Week. As a part of yearly collectables together with BIKINI BERLIN, she has designed a phone purse that was successfully launched on March 14th. Timed right for Berlin Fashion Week, the piece followed by an installation is ready for curious visitors at the ground floor of the Concept Shopping Mall until April 16th.

I am impatient to know, whom do you look up to for inspiration?

Inspiration comes from everywhere and most of the time I don’t even realize when it comes around the corner. Although I love nature a lot and really miss it, when I don’t have the chance to recharge my batteries there for some weeks, I am definitely a city girl. I need life around me. The beauty and the ugliness of cities. And although I hardly participate in the cultural program of the city of Berlin due to very little time, I would go mad with not having 24/7 the opportunity to go somewhere.

Powerful shapes and strong lines are distinctive for your brand, what is your favorite era of architecture?
Yes, that is true and I am definitely a fan of modern architecture from 1910 to 1960.

What is your favorite material to work with?
I love to work sculptural, even in garments. So I love to work with a fabric, which is called „Deutschleder“, very stiff and thick cotton, woven in Germany, which is mainly used for workwear.

When was your first show at the Berlin Fashion Week?
My first show at Berlin Fashion Week was in 2008 when I got nominated for the New Generation Award.

How has Berlin ́s fashion scene since changed then?
I just coincidentally had a book in my hand, called “Berlin Fashion“. It came out the same year. It was an overview of the Berlin „young“ Fashion label landscape. From the early 00 years until the first big financial crisis in 2008 it was the golden era in Berlin.
Young creative fashion labels have sprung up like mushrooms and somehow also got immediate attention. They exhibited together at Premium, often sold in similar stores, and went to Paris together to joint showrooms. Browsing through this book made me realize again how many of these great companies no longer exist today. There came a phase when it became clear that only those brands survive that either had the extreme staying power or those with financial backing. Of course, there were always other reasons for the dissolution of a label. A few years ago, in my opinion, it became easier again to start a fashion label. That had and has a lot to do with digitalization, which makes it easier to become known.

Your newest design oeuvre is a phone case, what inspired you to explore tech fashion?
It is actually not the tech fashion I was interested in for this phone purse. I had exactly the same phone purse for quite some years, made it myself for a fashion show I had in Düsseldorf, where I had to push out the models on the catwalk every 15 seconds and at the same time do the final touch up on the looks. Through the collaboration with BIKINI BERLIN, I finally had the opportunity to fulfill the wish of many customers and fans to have the Phone Purse produced in such a way that it achieves an affordable sales price. Not that there aren’t similar offerings floating around out there without end, but this Phone Purse has a little more fashion statement in it, a little more jewelry and adornment.

Two concepts that are so Berlin, you and the Concept Shopping Mall BIKINI BERLIN, what was the starting point of your collaboration?
The Bikini house is part of my life since I was a kid. The fact that the house was called a “bikini” because of its two-part construction was something I found exciting even as a child. Being born in West Berlin and going to the Kurfürstendamm was part of our lives. For shopping, watching movies in the „Zoo-Palast“, watching people or simply to pass time as a young teenager. These years were followed by the time as a real exhausting teenager, in which I hung out in front of BIKINI BERLIN to the vigil of the first oil war, or frittered away my time when I skipped school or just to go in the evening to the club “Linientreu”, which was directly in the Bikini building.
So it felt more than natural that after all those years both parties agreed on this wonderful collaboration.

How did you approach sustainability in your collaboration?
If someone asks me if I am a sustainable fashion brand I usually first say „no“. Because you need to look at this question very specifically and need to understand what the person who is asking understands under this term and what you yourself describe as sustainable. For many years I am trying to do a lot of things right and try to improve things all the time. But it feels like going sometimes five steps forward and sometimes three steps back. I am sourcing my fabrics only from Europe and even my zippers are made in Germany. I produce in very small series in Poland or right outside of Berlin. In order to let my brand grow, I need to include more easy access products, which I need to produce a bit farther away.
Then I am trying to check all social aspects, certificates, all that lays in my small power. I cannot travel there to see and check everything by myself. I use only black material and black never goes out of fashion. This implements that I never have fabric leftovers as I have my standard fabrics in winter and my standards in summer. Leftovers will just be used next season.
This sounds already like the right path, I know.  But I would also never deny, that in case my designer heart goes crazy (and this is the reason why I wanted to become a fashion designer when I was twelve years old), I would accept to go two steps back. But many of my customers collect my fashion or in general, fashion like they would collect art, which also brings a whole other aspect into the idea of sustainability.

Being a shark of the Berlin design scene, what currently gains importance in fashion in the capital?
Well, that is difficult to say as the design scene became so broad eve is allowed and out there. A smart digital strategy will definitely be rewarded today and even more so in the future. We are all complaining about being online, but me being well prepared for international requests on a well-working online shop made me survive the pandemic years. And I am constantly working to further expand this strategy and provide customers with very good service.

Interview Yuliya Maltseva

Picture courtesy of BIKINI BERLIN

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