With their bulbous silhouettes and extreme hourglass shape, it’s no wonder Terrence ZhouBalloon dresses almost immediately went viral this year. Known as Bad Binch Tong Tong on Instagram, the New York-based Chinese-born designer and artist strikes social media gold with nearly every edgy creation he uploads from the hallways of his tiny apartment.
Her latest collection, photographed on the rooftop of her Long Island City studio, includes both couture and ready-to-wear pieces and features her debut line of jewelry and accessories. Having first launched her brand at the height of the pandemic, her work quickly caught the attention of stylists and celebrities alike. Halsey, Camila Cabello, Karlie Kloss and Olivia Rodrigo.
Her entourage is equally captivated by her fantastic dresses. Friends came often and wanted to try on the balloon dresses to post on Instagram. So in November, he created a second, more wearable line called Bad Binch Tong Tong. “I wore a few pieces to a party and it quickly caught people’s attention,” he said. “They’re more functional but still beautiful and have great movement. As a dancer, that’s really important to me.”
He is currently collaborating with two artists to make his collections virtual. “There are more possibilities in the virtual world,” he says. “People can’t wear my clothes to work or to the gym, but in the virtual world they certainly can.”
For the balloon collection, Zhou was thoughtful of the idea of disappointment. “I really took the risk of looking within,” he says. “I feel like sometimes we have to let go and let go of the outcome. Enjoy the process. It’s about facing that disappointment and anxiety in your life and transforming yourself into a very visual format. “
With an unconventional technical background and more traditional Parsons studies, Zhou keeps his philosophy of duality in everything he does. “In our real life, we want to hide, or sometimes we wouldn’t say or do anything because we’re afraid of being judged by our colleagues or friends or whatever,” he says. “But like online, it’s more of a free space that we want to be tough and to be seen to be understood. So I feel like the online world sometimes offers more authenticity and honesty than I really appreciate it. It’s kind of surreal to design in this virtual space already, that most people don’t even realize how powerful it is.”
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