After finishing her fashion design degree at Massey University, ITZME designer Shuai Zhang, quickly transitioned into the industry landing a job at Karen Walker. Zhang’s time at the brand helped build her confidence enough to travel the world looking for inspiration from around the globe.
It was her international travels that influenced Zhang’s decision to launch her label, taking her experiences and channelling them into clothing that straddles the line between male uniformity, boyishness and femininity.
“I like to play on traditional tailoring elements from menswear coupled with a strong female personality and aesthetic to create a distinctive flair. ITZME is to be yourself,” said Zhang.
Launched in 2013, ITZME has established itself as an immensely creative brand which flows from Zhang’s aesthetic vision coupled with the feedback of her customers.
“Customer's feedback is crucial. It's like a radar on a ship. It directs me toward the right direction.”
Each collection begins with Zhang’s self-discovery process, in which she meditates on an idea or an experience, turning the smallest concept into a fully realised collection. The results are often garments that incorporate innovation alongside current trends, using the two to work in synergy with each other to stand out from the crowd. Zhang continues her synergistic approach to design when bringing in fabric. Letting the fabric influence the pre-conceived designs, and the designs influence the fabric choice.
“The secret to business growth is to create a balance between creating the trend and following the trend. The balance between Yin and Yang.”
Zhang describes the typical ITZME customer as someone who has ambitions in breaking boundaries and strive for independence and freedom but appreciates simplicity and its subtle complexities.
“I believe in teamwork, being at the forefront of the brand can set the direction for the brand and allow our customers to understand what ITZME represents.”
Part of being at the forefront is recognising the growing concern surrounding sustainable fashion, a movement Zhang completely supports.
“Our generation is facing unprecedented social and environmental challenges.”
Technology can be a big aid in developing sustainable practices, with Zhang utilising technological ways to run the brand better. ITZME continuously encourages the implementation of new technology, utilising its ability to increase production speeds alongside opening new communication channels for customers.
“We communicate through all core social media platforms, adopting technology rather than resisting it.”
It is no surprise then that e-commerce is a big focus for the brand, but the tradition of brick and mortar still hold value.
“ITZME is aiming to provide a shopping experience that cannot be rivalled by the convenience of online shopping.”
While the brand is still significantly new, Zhang is aiming to have national recognition within three years, before moving on to her 10-year goal of international recognition.