Margaret Zhang—photographer, stylist and social media superstar behind the popular Australian blog, Shine By Three—teams up with Calvin Klein Platinum and uncovers the brand’s selection of cutting-edge fashion made for the new millennials.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would’ve seen or heard of Margaret Zhang, the photogenic Asian beauty who’s part of an unstoppable wave of social media influencers shaping fashion’s discourse. At just 22 years of age, the front-row fixture has achieved an amount of success that others have taken years to accomplish: Besides having more than 732,000 followers on Instagram and being the object of fascination among street style photographers, the enterprising multi-hyphenate has bagged a campaign with Clinique and worked with international brands such as Uniqlo, Swarovski and Louis Vuitton.
More recently, Zhang has added another coup to her growing list of accolades: She has partnered with Calvin Klein Platinum, modelling the line’s latest spring/summer 2016 collections as part of Calvin Klein Inc’s massive digital initiative, #mycalvins. “It was one of those great projects where everything clicked. It was a seamless process, which is my favourite thing,” she tells Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore excitedly. It’s also a marriage of two like-minded parties. Zhang has a picture-perfect approach that has seen her become a distinct voice in fashion, while Calvin Klein Platinum is part of the colossal Calvin Klein empire that has stood for individuality and empowerment of youth with a fearless attitude. Pictured here with Calvin Klein Platinum’s Kevin Carrigan, Zhang speaks of the collaboration and the power of a hashtag.
Tell us about your collaboration with Calvin Klein Platinum.
I love the Calvin Klein brand as a whole. Branding wise, I think they’re always ahead of the curve and really innovative. They’re also particular about who they work with, and they always work with people who add to the conversation. It’s never just about having a model front things, which is a philosophy I share. Yes, I have this outward-facing brand that people are interested in because they like to see what I look like and what I dress myself in, but my work is more than that. Working with a brand like Calvin Klein is really important to me because they value my opinion, they value my aesthetic, and they value that I want to bring something to the table. It’s really a big team effort.
What has Kevin Carrigan brought to the brand?
I think Kevin produces pieces that everybody wants to wear but there’s still something interesting about his designs. Calvin Klein Platinum is a great standout brand for its quality and price points. Kevin is a wonderful human being and anybody who has had the pleasure of meeting with him will agree. All of the designers from the Calvin Klein family are the same. They have these wild personalities; they are really well-read people. Kevin references films and artworks every two seconds. It’s crazy! His depth of knowledge is amazing. He brings a lot of technical and art knowledge to the brand, but also that can-do, open-minded attitude. I think that’s important.
What makes the #mycalvins hashtag so dynamic?
It opens up the conversation about what the brand stands for to everybody. It makes people want to be involved and express themselves through the hashtag. I think that’s great! Everything’s presented in a way that’s not so cookie-cutter. If you look at the recent campaign, there’s such a huge range of talents there, but they’re all united with an attitude that says: “We do what we want based on our skills. We’re multi-faceted.”
What do you think millenials are looking for when it comes to fashion?
If millennials want to buy something, it’s because they’ve done all of their research and they have access. It’s very much about a lifestyle. And Calvin Klein has always captured that lifestyle. It has never been just about the dress or the jeans. It’s about “Who’s the face? I want to be like her.” Or, “Who is the voice of the generation?” I think it’s the same for the brand since its founding in the late ’60s.
How can you keep your voice distinct?
You don’t go out there trying to be different; you go there with the goal of being yourself. If you have an independent, authoritative, valid and educated opinion, there’s no questioning the continuation of your relevance as you evolve your opinions. It’s not a difficult thing. It makes me sad that there is a formula on social media because the whole point of it all is having your own opinion. The mistake that a lot of people make is thinking that social media is linear. They think that it’s just a one-way trajectory. They don’t realise that it’s all driven by consumer preference—so is everything else. They need to understand what consumers are looking for now and why.