Sheridan Tjhung is a Chinese-Australian florist-turned-accessories designer who established her venture ‘Sheridan Tjhung Accoutrements’ in 2018. Tjhung’s work explores a romantic aesthetic through meticulous detailing with delicate flowers and draped ribbons to reflect an iridescent sense of magic.
She made her debut at New York and Paris Fashion Week in 2020 alongside Christian Cowan and Giamattista Valli. Today, Tjhung’s celestial accessories have been sported by artists like Billie Eilish, Bad Bunny, Charli XCX, Ciara, Becky G, and Grimes.
See the full interview in our third issue, RESILIENCE.
1. What does resilience mean to you? How does resilience play into your brand and what you create?
Resilience is a combination of things. When I first started out, I had this expectation towards growing my brand in the eyes of big labels or celebrities or whatever I was looking forward to, but when it didn’t happen, I kind of let myself get down about it. I would ask myself if I was even good enough.
But then I realized that not setting up certain expectations makes it cooler when things do happen. Where I’m at now, I’m still plotting my own stepping stones of where I'm going. And some days, I just don't feel it. We need to be kinder to ourselves. We need to take away that expectation of being the most absolute version of ourselves. And how I do that for myself is to take those days off. To take the pressure off.
Giving myself space means allowing for more moments where I can really hit my stride, and this is reflected in the brand’s sense of creative freedom. I don't box myself in or set up any expectations, but the freedom to be anywhere is what I like.
2. What will you always be a champion of?
My goal for my brand from the very beginning was always to be unpredictable, and to never remain stagnant. I don't know if I'm a champion of that per se, but that’s what I allow myself to strive towards. When you become predictable is when you become, in a sense, replaceable.
I don't create designs that don’t bring me a sense of joy or accomplishment. [My work] feeds into me internally and remains unpredictable. I want to be left of field and bring in new innovation, and having that amalgamation of different interests is where the idea of being new or fresh comes from. For things to be so niche and random and bringing in all these different interests to keep the brand unpredictable help me surprise my audience.
All of that while staying true to the brand because it’s always still me, being forward-thinking.
3. As a former florist, many of your past projects incorporate floral influences. Why were you initially inspired to create work with nature and flowers, and how did that then manifest itself into fashion and design?
It sounds so cheesy but it’s just something that’s always been in me. I remember coming home from school every day and my mum would have to stop at this certain bush so that I could get out and smell them. Every single time. There’s just this weird thing where I’ve always been really drawn to being a florist or playing with flowers. Nature just has this sense of profound beauty.
Flowers have this sense of beauty, but only for a fleeting moment so it forces you to become somewhat present and appreciate something in front of you as you know it’s dying. I always incorporate it into the current brand because nothing feels more true to me and my aesthetic. That floral element or natural influence, even just bugs or birds, there’s always a sense of beauty around nature where it’s timeless. I just love it.
4. Your manufacturing process is focused on a very individual and unique handcrafted process. How did it feel to be able to bring your innovative art to brands such as Glossier and Louboutin?
So crazy. Glossier and Louboutin were under the floral umbrella, and before the world shut down, I was at New York and Paris Fashion Week with Christian Cowan and Giamattista.
What I will never sacrifice is the quality or amount of detail that goes into each piece. Sometimes, I’ll take months just to put a product out because I don’t want to slack on the quality. I take the time to do things right because they can see it. People can see how much time and energy goes into each piece, handcrafting the veils and then making patterns perfectly around the head which is honestly quite a difficult task. You can see the intimacy in the design and there’s something that feels finished and completed about meticulous work. I’m so grateful for understanding that this is the direction of my brand, and I think that’s what has drawn in larger attention.
5. How has your Chinese-Australian heritage influenced your art? What are some of your favorite pieces that incorporate both Eastern and Western inspiration?
The cultural influence on some pieces will be a lot heavier, but I think the undertone is not so much a direct result of my Chinese-Australian heritage; instead, Asian culture has this idea of opulence. And the whole brand tends to embody that.
Many beautiful traditional paintings have a sense of opulence and regality, but it’s always still got a softness to them. It’s still a little femme. Realistically, it’s that sense of functional opulence that has its tie back to heritage. But I think some of the pieces have traits that are more prevalent to the eye, but the influence will always just carry through me.
Even in my floral work, you’ll see that I love cranes. I am just so in love with it because it feels so romantic as it represents longevity and love, so it plays out more than I realize. I find some things so beautiful, and being able to share these cultural connotations with a broader audience is a privilege.
And besides, we need more Asian creatives! Love to see it. As I grew up, I began to understand my cultural heritage better and I’ve never been more proud of being Asian. It’s that sense of identity.