A chat with Courtney Zheng


A chat with Courtney Zheng

We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Courtney Zheng, the newest designer to join the TNT portfolio, to discuss her creative journey and what she brings to the world of fashion. Courtney Zheng is a contemporary Australian brand celebrating fluidity, impeccable craftsmanship, and intentional design.

Could you share the story behind the creation of COURTNEY ZHENG?

The label was created as a way for me to design myself a wardrobe, while also paying homage to a muse who is strong, sensual and sophisticated.

Your family has a rich heritage in manufacturing across generations. How has this influenced your career path?

If there's anything that stands out above all else, it’s probably work ethic. My parents pushed us to work as soon as we could, so I’ve been working in fashion from retail up since my first job at 15. After finishing my finance degree, my first offer was actually at an international bank. I thought mum would be super proud, but surprisingly she was the one who laughed and told me I’d bore myself to death there. I threw myself into learning the process within the family business over the next 4 years, before arriving to a point creatively where I felt I had no choice but to start something of my own. The entrepreneurial, creative spirit of all the women in my family means we’ve always been encouraged to take risks, but also to follow through.

How do you draw inspiration for your design process?

I think the process itself allows me to channel my obsessive nature. There's a lot of trawling through archival blogs, art books and visiting exhibitions. Inspiration for me can arrive from the tonality of a Rembrandt painting to the sass of an Afghan Hound. I’ve always been quite a pragmatist, whether I’m painting, designing, or making, in the sense that I trust and follow my eye and my hands. That process naturally guides me to fabrication first; feeling it and imagining the potential, its strength, weight or give. I’m uncompromising when it comes to the quality, and I find that a precious fabric will eventually dictate the care that is taken in its transformation into a garment.

Describe your brand in 3 words?

Distinctive, instinctual and fluid.

If you could choose one piece in your wardrobe to wear exclusively forever, what would that be?

A Saint Laurent smoking jacket I saved up for at 18 working my part time job throughout school. An outfit is a suit of armor. Looking back, I think this hyper-aspirational attitude to dressing at a young age was a form of self-protection in the competitive environment I grew up in. I've certainly balanced my confidence in other ways as I've grown up, but that notion still informs the desire for my pieces to guide the wearer to step into their own power and grace. 

What exciting plans can we anticipate from COURTNEY ZHENG in the near future?

With the first collection, many of the exaggerated proportions from shirting to suit pants allowed for the pieces to be worn unisex and I’d love to continue to push the styling in that direction.

What do you love about the TNT assortment? 

I love that TNT picked up the Ediline Crystal Coat, which is an evening piece that seems extravagant and yet is deceivingly easy to style.



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