Designer Terrence Zhou Is Creating A Cult of Bad Binches — You’re Invited

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TV: Has that become the way you describe your customer as well?

TZ: Yes. All of these models, they are all bad binches. Stefanie [Nelson, who collaborated with me on the movement for the show] is a bad binch. That’s why we worked together this season.

It’s about being authentic and honest. I’m honest, and I think the people attracted to my designs are genuine and like to express themselves. It’s not really a certain aesthetic. It’s more about the vibe and having a certain aura.

TV: What was most important for you to express with today’s presentation?

TZ: The inspiration of the whole set was this idea that I love myself so much, to the point that I just stop loving other people. It’s kind of extreme, but it’s this idea that I feel so self-obsessed that I kind of create a cult, in a way. For today’s show, there’s all of these amazing dancers, revolving around and emanating from a large-scale recreation of my face.

[Show Choreographer] Stefanie Nelson: He has such an incredible imagination. It’s incredibly playful and childlike in the most beautiful version of what it means to be childlike. Just so completely imaginative and open and wondrous. I know from his perspective it’s about ego and creating a cult. But to have all of these beautiful shapes and creations come out of his mouth in the show, was also about just all the beautiful ideas coming out of his head. That’s how I saw it.

When Terrence first approached me, I saw his older designs which are all very abstract, so I was thinking about what I could do with them. But then, when I saw these pieces, it was in the shapes of spiders, octopi, and mermaid tails, and very literal. But he had very specific ideas, and we were able to create from there.

Bad Binch TONGTONG Spring/Summer 2023 Collection. Courtesy of David Gannon

Bad Binch TONGTONG Spring/Summer 2023 Collection. Courtesy of Michelle Corvino

© Michelle Corvino

TV: Are you big on collaboration?

TZ: I actually don’t intend to collaborate, but when it happens, it’s usually a “right person, right time” situation. I’ve been talking to Stefanie for about a year, and it wasn’t until I decided to have a show that we realized it was the right time to collaborate. So it’s never really my intention.

This season I’ve also collaborated with the jewelry brand monSecret for the jewelry in the show. Also, Tang Yi, a Palme d’Or award-winning director, collaborated with me on my campaign shoot and even modeled today. So they are people of all walks of life and from different disciplines who came together for this.

I try to be very intuitive with my collaborators and very honest. It’s important not to take anything personally.

TV: In your younger years, before you properly dove into fashion, were you particularly inventive or interested in style?

TZ: No. I was not interested in fashion at all, actually. When I was growing up, I believe art and design were looked at as lesser than. My family wished for me to be a doctor, a lawyer or doing finance. So when I was at school, I worked really hard on mathematics and fell in love with it. I felt like I was communicating with intellectuals from hundreds of years ago. When it was time for college, I applied to all these schools and was denied from all the art schools — including Parsons, where I eventually graduated from. I initially went for mathematics before transferring to Parsons later.

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