Fashion goes far beyond fabric. It’s a form of expression that projects our inner most thoughts and feelings; personifying the way in which we see ourselves. For Dutch designer Esther Dorhout Mees—founder of ready-to-wear label Dorhout Mees—it’s a way to tell a story, and underline the beauty and power of women the world over.

Based in Amsterdam, Mees delivers conceptual, yet wearable designs that are inspired by her global fashion journey. Here, you will find the glamour of her stay in L.A., the casual elegance of her atelier-base in Amsterdam and the clean, sharp lines of Copenhagen.

Drawn to design from an early age, Mees moved to the U.S. to study fashion and photography at seventeen. On her return, she began working for Tommy Hilfiger later going onto further study at ArtEZ Academy of Arts in Arnhem. After working as a designer for various labels, Mees decided it was time to go it alone. “After all these years studying and working for other brands, I felt I had something else to say and that this was the time to say it,” says Mees. ”This was when I started Dorhout Mees.”

Natural materials form the basis of her eponymous line, but it’s the unexpected elements that give each design an air of originality. “I love to work with all silks, wools, cashmere...” says Mees. “But I also like to work with materials that would not be considered wearable per se and make them wearable. Like copper, wood or glass. I like the contrasts.”

So how would Mees hope a woman feels in her designs? “I love this question because that is what it is all about for me,” says Mees. “I want her to feel empowered, beautiful, unique and relaxed all at the same time. Because her beauty and confidence are for her to enjoy.” — JULIA STUART