ffiXXed began as collaboration between artists and designers Kain Picken and Fiona Lau, one that has evolved to encompass a variety of creative projects.
“We started working together and it got some momentum,” says Picken. “At some point we were like, okay, we should do this as a label, do a fashion line.”
So the Australian pair moved to Hong Kong and put their creative instincts to the test - their artistic, unstructured approach to the design process has paid off, with the label taking out the International Woolmark Prize (IWP) for the Asian region.
“What’s most important for us is to communicate our ideas … either though garments or sometimes we do exhibitions, we just use different mediums.”
“The International Woolmark Prize gives Asian and Chinese designers a global platform to showcase their talents,” says IWP judge Angelica Cheung, editor-in-chief of Vogue China. “ffiXXed were awarded for their stunning wool dress which was inspired by a rug. There was a balance between the surface and form of a rug with the softness of the wool. [The IWP] encourages innovation in the use of wool as a raw material, and also in terms of design and creativity.”
Fellow judge, Bartley Ingram, head of art and visual at Chinese fashion retailer Joyce says that ffiXXed stood out from the ten regional finalists from China, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan.
"The winning team did the best all round presentation. They really put together their ideas in a way that was clear to understand,” he said. “They took every aspect of the competition into consideration and did it in a very innovative way. From their mood boards to the final product they thought about every detail and the purpose of the competition.”
Picken and Lau were announced as the regional finalists during a ceremony at Hong Kong’s W Hotel following deliberation by the judging panel of Cheung, Ingram, Simon Lock of The Lock Group, last year’s International IWP winner Christian Wijnants and Kevin Carrigan, global creative director for Calvin Klein and Calvin Klein Jeans.
"Not only was their use of wool very modern, they created a very fashion forward capsule collection,” adds Ingram. “And their business sense and explanation of the commerciality of their garment really put them in the lead.”
On top of a AUD$50,000 prize, ffiXXed will head to Milan fashion week in February 2014 to represent Asia at the grand final of the IWP, against four regional finalists - for which they will need to develop a capsule collection made using Merino wool.
The ultimate winner will receive an additional AUD$100,000 and see their collection stocked in the biggest fashion retailers in the world, including Joyce, Harvey Nichols of London, New York’s Saks Fifth Avenue, 10 Corso Como in Milan, Australia’s David Jones and My Theresa in Germany.
“We were really conscious that we wanted to do something characteristic of ffiXXed but we wanted it to be something that can adapt to anyone’s lifestyle,” Picken says. “ffiXXed has always been a super personal project for us … we think about where we started from without any idea of having a label and where we’re at now and it sort of helps you put it in context.
“We’re in this overall trajectory that we want to be on.”
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