Compass® and Fxxking Rabbits Grab Attention with #FXXKINGCOMPASS “Year Of The Rabbit”

by Runi Cholid
27th January 2023
Compass® and Fxxking Rabbits' latest collaboration for the Lunar New Year, #FXXKINGCOMPASS "Year Of The Rabbit", reveals the two brands' hunger in making a noteworthy first impression amidst the fast-paced, digital-dominated world.

Those acquainted with the local sneakers scene would know just how well Compass® understands the power and economy of desire. It’s something that photographer and Japanese streetwear figure Ryo Ishikawa behind the Fxxking Rabbits (#FR2) brand got to witness firsthand during the 2019 Urban Sneakers Society event at District 8, SCBD. “Everybody was lining up for this sneakers brand, which was Compass®. People were fighting each other to get a pair,” described Ryo’s teammate and interpreter, Akio Komura.

His interest piqued, Ryo approached the booth only to discover Aji Handoko, Compass®’s chief experience officer and the man often credited for the sneakers brand’s rise to fame, wearing an #FR2 hoodie. That was the beginning of the bond between the two brands.

Since then, Compass® and #FR2 have joined together for multiple product collaborations under the title of #FXXKINGCOMPASS, a lineup that sees #FR2’s signature rabbits and “Smoking Kills” catchphrase married with Compass®’s classic silhouettes of vulcanised sneakers. “As we spend more time with the Compass® team, the more we are inspired by them, their passion. They are so proud of their own brand, their creations, manufacturing process and quality,” shared Ryo when asked about the two team’s dynamics.

Beyond shared passion, their latest collaboration for the Lunar New Year, #FXXKINGCOMPASS “Year Of The Rabbit”, reveals something deeper linking the two: a hunger to create a provocative first impact and invite desire. In true Ryo Ishikawa style, risqué images of female muses graze the campaign photos for the limited collection of sneakers and accessories, which include graphic tops and socks, released in two drops to build up the excitement.

Himself born in the year of the rabbit, Ryo’s signature rabbit graphics also made a mark on the sneakers’ heel tab. To the 48-year-old, the animal’s penchant for breeding can be interpreted as a symbol of a progressive drive that builds on the next generation, as well as an imagery that “stops your finger [from scrolling on your phone] and makes you pay more attention,” said Ryo of the eyebrow-raising logo that has long characterised his brand.

Meanwhile, Aji and his Compass® team lend their own touch through the design ideation and tapping into Banjarmasin-based surrealist artist Gunk Budi—known for his work with Australian band King Gizzard & Lizard Wizard—to come up with rabbit-themed illustrations for the lineup of t-shirts.

As for the centrepiece, the sneakers, the team went with the new Retrograde Velocity silhouette, a chunky yet minimalistically designed pair that has evolved beyond the vulcanised trademark of the brand. Drawing inspiration from their own design archive from 1994, the Gazelle® K-1019, this silhouette combines dynamic lines with curved edges. “The design language is all about movement, improving each day while chasing for perfection—even if there’s no such thing,” pondered Aji.

It’s an ongoing journey that is also marked with the launch of Modular by Compass®, a modular pop-up store in Urban Forest designed by Rahmat “Kibo” Indrani of Spoa Architecture. Draped in dark neutral tones and shaped for the most part like a traditional Japanese living room, in which people can leisurely sit around at any given corner, the modular structure blends seamlessly with the green surroundings of the park. “We broke down the design to its smallest working component, cutting out the use of heavy machinery. Everything here is built with a human touch,” explained Kibo.

Investing in such a work, to Compass®, is all about “showing that retail doesn’t always have to be confined to shophouses and malls. We’re not really treating it as a traditional store, rather as an architectural feat.”

Disrupting established conventions with an unusual store concept, raising demands through controlled scarcity (only 150 pairs of the red sneakers were available in store) and offering the prospect of cash prizes within each red envelope-like shoebox, some might put these moves down to marketing gimmicks. But the lively comment section on #FXXKINGCOMPASS “Year Of The Rabbit” posts on Instagram serves to prove that perhaps such is what is needed in today’s fast-paced digital world.

As Aji puts it, “I think a good product or a good campaign should make you uncomfortable. Whether it’s in a negative or positive way, it’s all about the first impact in that limited few seconds, if the reaction is hesitant then it has failed.”