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China Designers: FFIXXED is Breaking the Rigid Rules of Fashion

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China Designers is a biweekly series that showcases the wide spectrum of creativity in Chinese fashion design. From small designers to big brands, these names are changing the connotations of “Made in China,” one collection at a time. Write to us if you have a suggestion or submission.

In the world of fashion, particularly among its younger movers and shakers, fixed rules are made to be broken.

With a knack for folds and a toolkit of custom fabrics, Shanghai-based label FFIXXED Studios shakes up the game and makes arty, upper crust elegance look effortless to uphold.

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Models wearing FFIXXED SS19

The label kicked off in 2008 as a Berlin-based project focusing on unisex clothing. Two years later, founders Kain Picken and Fiona Lau decided to pack up and relocate to Shenzhen, China’s garment-making hub, in order to be closer to their manufacturers. Finally in late 2019, the brand set up a studio in Shanghai’s Jiading district.

“We work from the notion of ‘enhanced everyday essentials,’ so we look at what’s around us as a starting point — hence the distinct Asian influence from that perspective,” the duo tell RADII.

According to them, FFIXXED collections directly respond to the “construction of daily life,” finessing form and function to reflect the needs of urban life and work.




“Designing can either be a really simple A to B process, or it can be something more expansive and ongoing. For us, both ways of working are equally valid,” says Lau.

“The interesting thing for us is the actual space surrounding us — the quiet and often the tension between digital and more natural approaches.”

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Models wearing FFIXXED AW19

Whether resorting to digital — think 3D printing — or more artisanal methods, FFIXXED plays with a variety of styles and channels of communicating. Using natural fibers, custom-developed fabrics, and personalized production techniques sit high atop these designers’ agendas, as do issues of sustainability and ethical working practices.

Their holistic, yet aesthetically quirky approach has proved popular with clients and critics alike. In 2014, the label picked up the International Woolmark Prize (Asian Edition) in Womenswear as well as the 2015 YOOX.com Asian Sustainable Fashion Award.

But quirk doesn’t mean FFIXXED shy away from social commentary. Their AW20 collection revisited the idea of the “homebody” — a cozy concept turned ironic reality for many in the light of a worldwide lockdown following the Covid-19 outbreak. Relying on relaxed silhouettes, the collection draped wearers in bedding-like quilted fabrics and muted, natural textiles.

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Models wearing FFIXXED AW20

“We started looking at domestic spaces and textures, working with mattresses, quilting and things like that,” says Picken. ”We wanted to make a collection about the comforts of the home and how you can apply that to the outside world. Obviously that now comes with a very different, coronavirus-induced connotation.”

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In response to the pandemic, the duo also took the collection online with Labelhood in the world’s first-ever all-online fashion week in Shanghai. In lieu of a traditional runway show, the brand put kitschy, colorful sets and influencer friends to work in a comedic Chinese take on the Home Shopping Network, pulling in 70,000 views and 9,000 likes within a matter of minutes, according to Business of Fashion.

Because when it comes to changing times and expectations, why play by the book?

Follow FFIXXED Studios on Instagram.

All images: courtesy FFIXXED Studios

Elsbeth van Paridon
Sinologist Elsbeth van Paridon is an aficionada of fashion and urban culture. Deeply devoted to China’s urban underground scene, van Paridon also reports on trends in her own publications “The China Temper” and “China Under The Radar“.