Brand Focus: Acne Studios

acneciNot many people can whole-heartedly admit that Acne Studios’ killer shearling lined biker jackets and bombers not clogging up their ever-growing Pinterest ‘lust’ boards. From outerwear to footwear Acne Studios hit the nail on the head every single time. The Swedish luxury fashion house was founded in 1996 by Jonny Johansson;  “Ambition to Create Novel Expressions” initially started life as multidisciplinary digital film–design–creative consulting collective and has been moulded into a fashion empire.

The initial line comprised of solely denim jeans, inspired by iconic American figures such as Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. The five-pocket raw edge denim jeans featured distinctive red stitching and were straight leg in design. Johansson distributed the jeans in his close circle of friends and family, with the hope of getting noticed. The risk certainly paid off.

“We did 100 pairs. I used up all the money. I didn’t even dare to tell the other fellows. The strategy was to get somebody cool to wear it in front of my colleagues.” (Johansson)

Massive publication houses like Wallpaper and French Vogue were soon captivated by the denim offerings, and ACNE branched out beyond denim shortly after. From that day on, Acne gained its residence firmly on the fashion radar. In 2013, the brand turned over $120 million and this expanse shows no sign of slowing down. Acne is available from all major online luxury retailers, including Harrods, MatchesFashion and Net-a-Porter to name just a few. You just have to scroll down Instagram or Pinterest to see how far the brand has come, and how much we all want a piece to nonchalantly parade around in.

acne1L-R: Acne Studios Accessories

It has not always been plain sailing for the brand, who were hit by financial hardship in 2001. The clothes were adored and desired but the issues came behind the scenes. The executive chairman, Mikael Schiller commented on the downfall that the public did not see “but when it came to systems, logistics and production, it was not great at all, because it was very creatively driven. The company was on the verge of bankruptcy — the fashion part — in 2001.”

Since then, the company has become a household name amongst a younger generation with the collections being shown bi-annually at Paris Fashion Week. The brand is moving in a unique direction, with the S/S 16 collection paying an ode to 80’s electro and the 90’s rave scene. The collection has been pegged to the likes of the iconic Grace Jones in its desire to exist outside of the confines. In recent years there has been a stepping away from the traditional routes of the original shearling lined biker jackets towards structured tailoring with a texture twist. Sharp lines and shapes still dominate the catwalk but optical prints and guitar embellishments urbanise the collection for a modern audience. There are still sprinklings of the laid back origins in the sheer knitted vests and hole-adorned jumpers, but these just appear alongside the modern prints and designs of the upcoming season.

acne2L-R: Acne studios spring 2016 Ready to wear

Acne Studios have contributed to the agender debate in previous years, with their 2015 fall campaign displaying Johansson’s 11 year-old son clad in an oversized pink coat, oversized accessories and heeled boots. The campaign, alongside many others, focuses on the need to encourage the consumer, especially the younger generation, that this line between male and female couture is blurring, and that fashion should be a personal venture without gendered segregation.

“When you get into the flow, music connects with the unconscious. Fashion does this too, but it’s more playful, like perfume. And it’s very fast.”

acne3L-R: Acne Studios Outerwear

It is the oversized, yet boxy styles, muted colour palette and simple lines that set Acne aside from the rest. It is thanks to Acne Studios (and the high-street fail-safe H&M) that Swedish style is known and desired from all areas of the world. We are all in pursuit of that Swedish cool to inject into our wardrobes and lives. Acne ticks all of the effortless ‘off duty’ chic boxes and has a permanent fixture on the ‘lust’ list.

You can buy Acne Studios on their website or here:

Emma McCormack

Images: Pinterest, Harpers Bazaar, Fashionista,

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