Where Is ‘Making the Cut’ Runner-Up Esther Perbrandt Now?

You might recognize Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum from their hit fashion competition show, Project Runway. But in 2020, Gunn and Klum started an entirely new fashion competition show together named Making the Cut which premiered on Amazon Prime TV in March. The show follows talented fashion designers as they fly around the world to places like Tokyo, competing in reality TV show competitions along the way.

Making the Cut is different and, arguably, better than Project Runway in many ways, and one of the star examples of that “difference” was the presence of Berlin designer Esther Perbrandt, whose uniqueness fans loved so much that she ended up being the runner-up of the entire competition.

So what made Perbrandt so different from her competition, and what has she been up to these days?

Esther Perbrandt was a unique contestant

Esther Perbrandt
Esther Perbrandt | Isa Foltin/Getty Images

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Perbrandt immediately stood out on the show for her minimalist, all-black fashion. Her clothes have a very distinct look which she has described as “too rock and roll” for Paris and “too chic” for Berlin.

Fans fell in love with her authentic style and her unwillingness to change her identity for the show. She was the “all-black” designer through and through; “Black is endless, timeless, positive, and healthy. It makes people beautiful and lets them glow,” she stated for Interview Magazine.

Despite her unique style, Perbrandt made it to the very last round of the show, where she competed and lost against designer Jonny Cota, whose clothes were thought to be more commercial. The final competition wasn’t unanimous, though: Cota only won by a 3-to-2 vote.

Perbrandt was born and raised in Berlin, which really shines through in her all-black aesthetic. She also did a three-month fashion internship in Moscow, a time that she credits for her current look. It’s clear that Perbrandt was influenced by a lot of different time periods in her life to make her into the designer she is today.

Perbrandt refused to change for the show

When asked by Reality Blurred reporter Andy Dehnart if she felt like the judges tried to change her for the show, Perbrandt replied honestly: “I think they really tried. I was expecting that. When I knew that I will be one of the participants, I knew this would be a big issue, my black. I tried really hard and that was really tiring for me in each session with the judges to fight again for my universe.”

At the same time, Perbrandt says that she actually feels grateful for needing to defend her style and voice time after time to the judges.

“[T]hat made me so strong, and by standing there again and again and fighting for it, made it so much stronger—stronger, I think, than it was before,” she told Reality Blurred, adding: “It was really good school, and yeah I’m thankful for all their really hard critiques.”

What has Perbrandt been up to since the show ended?

Basically, Perbrandt reports to Reality Blurred that since the show stopped filming last year, she has mainly been working hard on gearing up for the explosion of fame and media attention for her brand that she expected to come once Making the Cut was released. It seems that she’s been focusing more on the business aspect of things and creating a website, Instagram, and SEO strategy for her brand.

She states that moving forward, she’s not completely unwilling to change her aesthetic: “The market is changing, the world is changing; if I don’t change myself and my brand, I will have to close one day,” she admits.

Fans can only hope that Perbrandt doesn’t change the aesthetic that they love too much!