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Brooklyn Gal

Skip Shopbop and Shop Esther’s Winning Collection

Esther Perbandt, Making the Cut runner-up and Berlin-based designer

We don’t know about you, but we here at the Brooklyn Gal tore through Amazon’s reality fashion series Making the Cut, eagerly awaiting the weekly Friday drop of two new episodes until, alas, the premiere season came to close.

For the uninitiated, think Project Runway with a million dollar prize and a fresh spin on the moving parts, from the multiple locations (New York, Paris, Tokyo) to the esteemed panel of judges (including the outspoken Naomi Campbell, never one to sugarcoat her feelings, and early on, French editor and icon, Carine Roitfeld) to the 12 designers (a global array of mostly experienced talent). Hosted, of course, by Project Runway veterans, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. The premise: to find the next major fashion brand (as opposed to the next big fashion designer).

The season ended with (spoiler alert) LA entrepreneur Jonny Cota winning the grand prize, and our favorite contestant, Berlin designer, Esther Perbandt, an ardent fan of the color black, winning second place. Bummer. In our book, Esther was the winner. In fact, she had it all: Talent, vision, a calm sense of self-assurance and a viable marketing plan (one of the storylines in a late-season episode). Oh, and a super-cool take on black clothing, from her fabrics and silhouettes to her distinctive aesthetic.

So why aren’t we knocked out by Perbandt’s new Amazon collection, now available at Shopbop, Amazon’s fashion offshoot?

Nearly every week, the MTC judges would remark on the salability of black clothing, remarking that black pieces just didn’t present well online. Could that be the reason why this collection seems to lack oomph? Um, no. Could it be the high price tags, rather aspirational for a local Berlin designer? Um, no again. From the Brooklyn Gal‘s perspective, Perbandt’s Shopbop pieces are just not unique enough to warrant an outlay of hundreds of dollars, no matter how deep your pockets. Dare we say, her design prowess has been dumbed down?

That, of course, was not the case on Making the Cut. Every week, Perbandt delivered something interesting, something modern, something we wanted to wear out in the world (one day, anyway). But not these Shopbop pieces. They seem to belong to another designer entirely.

Fortunately, all is not lost. We recently discovered Esther Perbandt’s online shop, the one where she sells her distinctive designs, not the Amazon-ified line available to the masses. Now we just need to pony up the bucks, oh, and the place (!) to wear her amazing creations.