Fashion brand Federation reaps the reward for messing with pop culture

Fashion brand Federation reaps the reward for messing with pop culture

Kiwi streetwear brand Federation has received the honour of being named winner of the inaugural Fashion Communication Design Award for its self-described “unconventional, artistic, quirky, humorous and youthful” brand personality. Developed in collaboration between Fashion Industry New Zealand (FINZ) and James & Wells Intellectual Property, the award celebrates creativity and excellence in fashion-specific communication design, which seeks to inspire, inform and influence consumer audiences.

Husband-and-wife team Nick and Jenny Clegg founded the brand about 10 years ago and have turned it into one of New Zealand’s most successful international fashion brands that is now sold in 18 countries across the Pacific, Asia, U.K, Europe, Middle East and North America. 

“This award means a lot to us, because we’re really conscious about our brand and how we tell our story,” says Nick Clegg. “Regardless of whether it’s an individual print, garment, look-book or Facebook post; everything is Federation. 

“With us, it’s a case of deciding ‘this is what we’re doing’ and ‘this is where we’re going’; let’s implement it. And, that’s based on a combination of things, which often stem from bouncing ideas off one another. We have such a great team. These people are awesome and we’re not going to change who we are to try and fit every market. We have to stay true to ourselves.” 

The judging panel was led by Mike Hutcheson, co-founder of Colenso and former managing director of Saatchi & Saatchi, who now heads Image Centre Holdings. He was joined by Carrick Robinson, partner at James & Wells Intellectual Property, and FINZ executive officer, Mapihi Opai. 

“Federation is up-front in saying: ‘we design what we want to wear and don’t necessarily follow trends’. This implies honesty, creativity and self-confidence, which expresses itself in the personality of the brand. They really understand their target audience, because the communication design is deliberate, consistently slick and well integrated.
This is an eclectic brand that you can’t pigeonhole. It’s always experimenting and continuing to evolve, which sparks your curiosity and makes you want to find out what’s next,” says Hutcheson. 

And Robinson agrees. 

“Federation has clearly and confidently delivered its message to the world. It’s great to see a company with such a firm grip on who it is as a brand, and a willingness to execute a strategy around this.” 

And while Opai describes Federation as a company with loads to shout about, aggressive-self promotion, she says, isn’t the way Nick and Jenny Clegg operate.

“Instead, they choose to speak through the brand and it’s something they do exceptionally well, because that language transcends cultural barriers and is understood by people around the world.” 

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