Founded in 2010 by Fiona Lau and Kain Picken, FFIXXED STUDIOS is part of a new generation of homegrown fashion labels that is changing the world’s perception on the concept of ‘made in China.’ We caught up with the Shenzhen-based duo just before their Shanghai Fashion Week show to find out more about their kuaidi parcel-inspired AW 2018 collection, and what it’s like to run a fashion label as a couple.
What does the name ‘FFIXXED’ mean?
KP: Our collaboration began as an art/fashion project and it wasn’t until a bit later that we decided to turn it into a label. We wanted a word that we could build our own meaning into. FFIXXED references the idea of having no fixed location or meaning, while the play on the spelling means we could change or adapt the brand to make it our own.
Has your creative process evolved since the brand’s founding in 2010? Do you each play a certain role?
KP: In the beginning it was really just Fiona and I, and it was really ‘DIY’ and a bit free form. Now we work with a small team to make our collections and shows, so there are more time and financial constraints. But this has really helped us to articulate our design process more thoroughly, and we still maintain a fairly DIY approach.
FL: We always work together during the creative design process and the development of the collections. But in other aspects of the business, we each focus more on certain tasks. I am generally more involved with production, while Kain handles press relations and other projects.
“FFIXXED is an extension of our lives”
How has the brand been received in China and internationally over the last eight years?
KP: Japan was always our major market for a long time, but over the last two or three years, our sales and brand presence have become much bigger in China. During the last two seasons, we have been focusing more on European sales. I think that our particular ‘laidback’ style can fit anywhere.
So what’s a typical FFIXXED fan like?
FL: It varies. In Japan, we have a big following of guys in their early 20s, while our Chinese customer base is less youth oriented. In Europe, they tend to be a little more mature and are often involved in creative industries.
Your design concept is about adapting to the changing conditions for contemporary living. How is this reflected in your most recent collection?
FL: For the AW18 collection, we used parcels that come through our office everyday as our inspiration. We created this adhesive transfer tape that resembles packing tape, and made it look like they’re holding pieces of fabric in place. It’s about taking a new look at the materials we use everyday – materials that you don’t necessarily associate with fashion.
As a couple, what are the advantages and disadvantages of working with your partner? Do you find it hard to unplug?
FL: FFIXXED is really an extension of our lives and it’s nice to see how we have grown together. The advantage is that you can develop a kind of shorthand working so closely together. The disadvantage is that it can be difficult to separate work from life, which is great when things are going really smoothly, but it can be difficult when the pressure is on.
KP: Yes, for a long time this seemed almost impossible, but we really made an effort to make it happen – taking small vacations during the year where we totally disconnect from work.
What are your plans for the rest of 2018?
KP: After Shanghai Fashion Week, we’ll be working on a really fun and interesting project for a new museum in Australia, so we’ll also be there later in the year.