We are delighted to have a chat with designers of fashion brand ffiXXed, Fiona Lau & Kain Picken, who are also the Hong Kong nominated designers for the International Woolmark Prize 2013, on their design stories, their take on the Woolmark competition, and upcoming exciting projects.
As a design duo, how did you both get together to start the brand?
In 2008 we were asked to participate in an exhibition for Art Rotterdam and thought we’d collaborate to make some fabric sculptures. We didn’t want to do it as Fiona & Kain so we thought we’d give our collaboration a name which all of our projects could come under. This become our brand ffiXXed.
When you start a project/collection, where do you usually find the inspiration from?
The inspiration comes from different places, it can be a particular fabric, technique, image or object. We are interested in the everyday and how the objects and images from daily life can be re-interpreted or re-imagined. For example in our spring summer 13 collection we were inspired by the wooden massage chair covers in taxis. We thought this material and technique was really interesting and wanted to apply it to other objects. We used this technique to make our own reflexology sandals and a massager vest.
Knowing that you don’t have a fixed headquarters, how and why have you picked the showrooms that you have now?
Actually we are quite settled in Hong Kong now. After moving from Australia, Berlin, New York it’s nice to have a more permanent space. Hong Kong is such an international city, we can get just about everything we need here. We currently have showrooms twice a year at Tokyo Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week. We work with an agent in Tokyo and Japan makes up a large part of our market. But Paris is still the most important date on the fashion calendar.
Have you ever had big fights over design between the two of you? If so, how did you get over it?
Of course we have disagreements as any collaborators would have, about what direction ideas should be taking, what ideas should be edited etc. This is resolved through much discussion, which is positive as it really forces us to analyze what we are doing and think about completely new approaches to help us reach a consensus.
Is there any upcoming projects (personal, art, collaborations, charity…etc)? When?
At the moment we’re working on a few projects. We’re part of an exhibition in Melbourne called Y4K Biennale opening at the end of the month, we are also working on a collaboration with Melbourne artist Elizabeth Newman, a new projects with New York based artist Ester Partegas and we are working together with the design duo Colonia based in Lisbon on our SS14 collection. And of course we are working hard on developing our collection for the Woolmark Prize!
On this Woolmark competition, what kind of a design direction will you take?
The direction is still very much in line with our usual approach, but we’re using this opportunity to develop some new ideas and explore new techniques, to really see what we can do with wool. We’re very lucky to be sponsored by Natalia a Hong Kong based garment knitting company and Novotex who have supplied us with the wool yarns.
What is the word “attractiveness” to you (e.g. on a person, character, design…etc)?
For us attractiveness is something that we are immediately drawn to, and it may not always be so clear as to why, which can be even more appealing…it can be applied to an object a person or an idea.