Jonny Johansson Acne Studios – Jonny Johansson is more than just a designer. He approaches fashion in a refreshing way and gets inspiration from photography, art, culture, surfing and architecture. Over the past years this Swedish guy has made Acne Studios not just a famous fashion brand, he also changed the fashion scene with his refreshing view on trends, fabrics and fits. Discover everything you didn’t know about this very down to earth man and his Acne Studios below.
Cover photo: © acnestudios.com
About the designer and founder
Jonny Johansson founded Acne Studios (Ambition to Create Novel Expression) in 1996, together with three others. He was 26 years old at that time. His father has always been a great inspiration for him, since he has his own signature style. When Jonny was a kid, he felt embarrassed. His dad just ‘didn’t fit in’. However, when he got older, he started to realize that having an own style makes you unique. He thinks there is no ‘best way of dressing’ and clothes should be interpreted in your own, individual way. He likes to see fashion as a creative expression rather than a celebrity circus.
Eccentric and essential
It is hard to describe the style of Acne Studios, since it is both minimalistic, timeless but can also be very outgoing. Johansson is able to combine both eccentric and essential in one collection or even one garment. We can state that Johansson likes contrasts and doesn’t go for easily aesthetic products. Acne Studios’ first collection, for example, consisted of many pairs of raw jeans, sewed with red stitches. Johansson donated the jeans to many friends, but not many immediately wore them. They simply didn’t see the beautiful side of the jeans. The same holds for today’s collections: not every piece is easily understandable.
The Acne Studios collections
Johansson would describe Acne Studios’ style as “maximalist minimalism”. The first worldwide collection hit the stores in 1997, when the ‘weird jeans’ became popular after being featured in big fashion magazines as French Vogue, Elle Sweden and many others. Since then, the spirit of every collection is to be provocative in the same way as music can be. It should be about self-expression and appeal to both minimalists and maximalists. The collections can be both contemporary and classic, always with a twist. Every collection differs a lot. It has to do with the designer’s fascination with contradicting designs, paying attention to details and using custom-made fabrics. This makes every collection both unique and surprising. These contradictions reflect in Acne Studios’ fan base, which is as diverse and inclusive as the brand itself.
The face motif
As unique and surprising the collections are, the recognizable is the face motif of the brand. It was developed to depict a “common Swedish citizen”; not very happy, not very sad. Just lagom. In 2017, the Face Motif got an entire dedicated collection, dedicated to families. The aim of the collection is to portray families of today, in all shapes and sizes. This suits the inclusion the brand is known for. Past campaigns include ‘untraditional’ families and almost scream inclusivity. That’s how we like it: a brand with a mission.
If you have ever visited two or more Acne Studios flagship stores, you know they all have different interiors. Why? Because Johansson is not only intrigued by fashion, but also by interiors. He likes to keep inventing new store concepts. However, the style of Acne Studios becomes immediately visible once you enter. Every store is very conceptual and most of them look more like a gallery than a fashion boutique: another thing that fits perfectly with the authentic brand and the view of doing things differently.
The signature pink bag
The big bag has become an icon. But what’s the story behind this signature of the Acne Studios brand? Just as with the first collection of red-stitched jeans, people thought the pink bags were ugly and weird. Pink used to be an ugly colour. That’s exactly what Johansson likes and what makes Acne Studios such a success: he doesn’t take the easy road, but instead chooses for products that have certain energy and make people think. He doesn’t do the ‘soulless’ stuff. When he designed the pink bag, he knew people wouldn’t like it at first, but they would start appreciating it sooner or later. He likes to challenge existing views, beauty ideals and trends. It is an understatement to say he succeeds in doing so.