Acne Vulgaris

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Acne Vulgaris

Postby germinal » Sun Oct 06, 2013 3:30 pm

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The Wall Street Journal wrote:How to Succeed in Fashion Without Trying Too Hard
Before growing into a global business with its own culture magazine and an evolving product line, Acne Studios began as a creative consulting firm that played by a few counterintuitive rules—ones it still stands by today.

By LYNN YAEGER, 2013

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WHILE HE WAS WORKING ON Acne's spring 2013 collection—the long, floaty parachute-fabric skirts and T-shirts emblazoned with the word "music" that are in stores now—Jonny Johansson listened to a lot of Emmylou Harris. "It was a bit surreal. She talks about women, the difference between a woman who has experience and a woman who is young and free. She was painting pictures in a sense," he says dreamily. "I could see this woman, in a white dress."

Johannson, the cofounder and designer of Acne Studios, is sharing this reverie in a lofty room in the company's world headquarters, a spectacular art nouveau former bank building on an almost ridiculously picturesque cobblestone street in Stockholm's Old Town. Vintage copies of Flair are enshrined under plexiglass near the entrance; a grand staircase still shows off its original gilded wood paneling and stained glass. The uniformly youthful staff is clad in the kind of clothing that has become the company's hallmark: edgy and slightly twisted, managing to walk a tightrope between slightly avant-garde and eminently wearable—or, put another way, unthreateningly bohemian.

In an era when every high street from Altoona to Zanzibar is crammed with identical chain stores selling identical merchandise, Acne is perceived as different: Its legions of fans think of it as a brand with integrity, a company that makes principled aesthetic decisions and never resorts to marketing tricks, even though they have hundreds of outlets.

If the most difficult challenge in the fashion industry is to remain relevant and desirable in an ever more crowded marketplace—and the whole project of predicting what customers will want in any given season is at best an ephemeral enterprise—Acne's ability to play the game while appearing to remain mysteriously above the fray is a deeply impressive accomplishment. The company was founded in 1996 by four guys who threw 10,000 euros into a pot and launched a multidisciplinary digital film–design–creative consulting collective in Stockholm, an enterprise that, by a combination of frankly nutty decisions and shrewd business practices, has become a highly profitable business—$112 million in revenue last year alone—encompassing men's and women's ready to wear, footwear, accessories and premium denim.

Johansson, who turns 44 this month, originally came to Stockholm from a small town in Sweden to be a rock musician. "I sacrificed my band for this!" he says, smiling. He has no formal training as a designer, and his interests range far beyond the usual fashion talk—the conversation drifts easily from jazz artist Chet Baker to the turn–of–the–20th century Swedish polymath August Strindberg. Struggling to describe in words how he works, he uses his first love as a metaphor: "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."

In its early days, Acne Studios strove for a Warhol Factory atmosphere. "We loved how they looked, the way they did things—whether you were old or young didn't matter," Johansson says. The business's borderline-repulsive name—an acronym for Ambition to Create Novel Expression—was meant to be deliberately off-putting, a reflection of the ironic mood of the '90s. "I didn't like the name at all," he confesses. "I was embarrassed to call the bank. I don't know if I like it now either."

AS TIME WENT ON, Johansson and his cohorts started flirting with the notion of launching some kind of fashion product—but not just anything. "We knew we had to do something fantastic," he recollects. They were intent on creating something special, something that lived up, or down, to their name. They were sure they didn't want to become just another streetwear brand. After all, if their agency was an unclassifiable multitasking synthesis of digital art, film and graphic design, couldn't their fashion line be just as ambitious? Unfortunately, this was harder than it sounded. In a country like Sweden, with virtually no domestic garment industry or tradition of fabric manufacturing and where the largest fashion retailer, H&M HM-B.SK +0.07% , sources and manufactures everything outside the country, how do you begin?

It turns out, with the most obvious of icons: a pair of five-pocket raw denim jeans with red stitching—an unwitting homage, perhaps, to the American idols that Johansson idolized as a teenager, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. Johansson designed these dungarees in 1997 on a lark, to give to his friends. "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."

It worked. Fashion insiders, graphic designers, filmmakers, hipster kids—in short, all the people Johannson hung out with and admired—began wearing the pants. Soon everyone who wanted to appreciate how his or her rear end looked ensconced in a pair of perfectly cut jeans embraced Acne. A big spread appeared in Wallpaper, followed by others in French Vogue and Swedish Elle. "We were not prepared at all," Johansson says. They added other products to the line very quickly, determined not to be identified with a single item. The company had a hunch that the boundaries separating the various sectors of the fashion market were rapidly dissolving, that the same consumer who was able to afford expensive garments was not averse to amusing himself/herself with fun high-street labels. "We wanted to be a creative entity, an eclectic universe," Johansson remembers. "We knew as customers that if we liked something, we didn't care if it was streetwear, vintage or couture."

When the big department stores came courting, at first the Acne guys said no, reluctant to relinquish any control and fearing that retailers wouldn't properly merchandise their products. (This initial hesitancy has dissolved—Acne is sold in fancy big boxes worldwide, including Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Isetan, Harrods and Le Bon Marché.) Even now, with 650 outlets in 66 countries around the world, catwalk shows during London Fashion Week and a showroom in Paris (because buyers and press, no matter how intrepid, aren't likely to schlep to Sweden), Acne insists that it is far more than a clothing company. There is the biannual magazine, Acne Paper (hardly a conventional fashion publication, it has offered such features as an interview with the M.I.T. linguist Noam Chomsky and rarely accepts advertising); an ongoing series of collaborations, including a denim line with Lanvin in 2008; a book with Lord Snowdon; three blouses created with Candy magazine, a cult transsexual publication; and a furniture line that offered an elegant sofa that is quite possibly the narrowest couch in living room history (this skinny jeans version of a settee is still available for sylph-like customers by special order). None of these projects are announced through traditional advertising methods—the company deliberately hides its light under a barrel, preferring to promote the brand through Acne Paper , along with its shifting roster of collaborators.

Mikael Schiller, the company's executive chairman, says he thinks Acne has succeeded because the company adheres to its own informal catalogue of counterintuitive rules. Rule number one, he confides with a laugh, is their desire to open stores in cities he and Johansson find personally appealing, not places where the company would necessarily make a killing. While everyone else may be rushing to China, Acne was seduced by the charms of Japan, launching its first Asian flagship in Tokyo in December 2012. When the existing Tokyo building was deemed too prosaic, too generic, Johansson and architect Andreas Fornell redesigned the interior to resemble a modern Swedish house.

Schiller himself is a living example of rule number two: the company's devotion to seek out, cultivate and promote employees who embody the ethos of the brand. "People who work at Acne become so passionate—it's almost organic. They feel it, and other people know they feel it," he says. "My former assistant, Mattias Magnusson, is now the CEO." If Johansson is the pensive bohemian, Schiller is, at least by Acne standards, relatively practical and down to earth. "I was 24, finishing business school, and some friends asked me if I could write an investment memorandum for Acne," he recalls when asked to explain how a young guy whose previous work experience included starting a fireworks company and working as a high school psychology teacher rapidly rose to a major position. "I had heard that when you write an investment memorandum you had to do discounted cash flow. I was not good with Excel—I worked day and night on this for 10 days. I gave it to Acne, and a little while after that they said, 'You seem to be good with business—would you like to become the managing director?'"

With the crazy confidence that youth bestows, Schiller signed on. He quickly jettisoned the lessons he'd learned in school: how to analyze markets and figure out which consumers should be targeted. "Acne started the opposite way—let's make a fantastic product, whether it's a gown or a magazine. If we do this, it will be easy to sell, and if they like it, they will come back."

HIS FIRST DAY AT his new job was September 1, 2001. Ten days later, the world changed forever. "At the time, the company was on shaky financial ground," he recollects. "People were calling night and day asking, 'Where is my money?' My first task was impossible—I was trying to raise a million euros. I called everybody we owed money to, and told them we could pay them 30 percent or we could declare bankruptcy. Everybody agreed." In the end, Schiller and Johansson scraped the money together to buy out their original partners and run Acne Studios themselves, a decision that allows them to pursue their management strategy, which Schiller sums up irreverently as "looking for the right people and the wrong street."

A recent wintry afternoon finds Schiller, who splits his time between Stockholm and New York, at the company's digs on a Manhattan street just south of Canal—true to the Acne credo, it's an area where Soho dips from major to minor, and there are spectacular 360-degree views wrapping around the offices. Looking north, you can almost see Acne's New York flagship a few blocks away; with a high-intensity telescope, you might even be able to pick out customers lugging dusty pink shopping bags, perhaps containing ankle-length frocks and witty T-shirts, but more than likely, they're filled with those jeans which, a decade on, remain responsible for the firm's ascent.

Asked what the business-school guy who came to work at Acne in 2001 would make of the company's last decade, Schiller laughs at the astonishing way things have turned out. "If I would have known that in 10 years we would have 100 times the turnover, a Lanvin collaboration and stores in so many cities...," he says, shaking his head at the wonder of it all. "But you know, you change with what happens, your perspective changes and fashion, by its nature, is always changing. We have been perceived as creative and quirky, but we want to become a long-term institution. We want to have even better services, better products, a better online presence."

Then he turns thoughtful, and almost by accident hits upon what makes Acne so special and so successful: "We had this idea: not to explain everything to everybody." It may have been the best notion Schiller and Johansson ever had—a bit of mystery could well be Acne's best revenge.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1 ... 2927911328

Interview Magazine wrote:JONNY JOHANSSON
By PAIGE POWELL, 2008

There is a conspiracy theory that Sweden is quietly taking over the world. If that's true, Jonny Johansson and his fanatically popular fashion brand, ACNE, will certainly be in the power seats. Johansson and three colleagues started the creative collective-and future lifestyle label-in Stockholm in 1996 with the dream of dipping their hands into every possible pocket of art and culture (the name is an acronym for Ambition to Create Novel Expressions). After they unleashed 100 pairs of unisex jeans on friends, family, and clients one year later, the ACNE denim rush was on. Jeans might have been the gateway drug, but soon the brand was supplying a young global fan base with everything from radically elegant casual sportswear to stuffed animals. They even have their own biannual magazine. This year, ACNE teamed up with another cultishly popular label, Lanvin, for a collaboration on couture-like pieces executed in blue denim for both guys and girls. Like most things ACNE, the partnership between creative director Johansson and Lanvin creative director Alber Elbaz happened almost by accident, while talking casually at dinner. Here, 39-year-old Johansson talks just as casually about what inspires him, why his office manager is building sculptures in the corner, and how nothing's better than a perfect vintage guitar.

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PAIGE POWELL: You've really become something of an impresario, with your film company, jeans, men's and women's lines, even children's toys. Now I hear you will be doing furniture.

JONNY JOHANSSON: We are. For me it was about experimenting, about seeing if there was anything in furniture design that was connected to our work in fashion. Furniture design in the 1920s and '30s in Sweden has always interested me. Abroad they called the style "Swedish gray," but the genre was really neoclassicism. It was around the time when modernism and the Bauhaus were getting stronger. But this neoclassicism was actually doing modern things too, as well as looking back at history. That's a little bit of what ACNE is doing today. We do -respect history and we try to do something modern and new. We aren't like the Bauhaus, saying, "No, I don't like what history is giving." I'm generalizing of course. But when people ask me about being Swedish, or if there is something I feel connected to, neoclassicism is the thing I bring up.

PP: Do you play any instruments?

JJ: I play guitar.

PP: Are you in a band?

JJ: I was in several bands during my younger, student years. It was all about being in a band. I was more focused on the self-expression part than my musical output-what I was wearing, how the poster was looking, or how the stage was set up, things like that.

PP: What were the bands that you played in called?

JJ: I had so many. I had one that was called Violet.

PP: Did you play bass?

JJ: No. Initially I wanted to stand in the front, so I was playing guitar or singing or both.

PP: Are there any artists that you feel influenced by?

JJ: When we started, we liked the whole Andy Warhol liberation of art and commerciality. That was liberating for me, finding a path I wanted to go down. We used the Factory quite frequently as a reference in 1996 when we started, and I bought a lot of old Interview magazines. I still have a nice collection. So that was one reference. I like Keith Haring. I recently saw a documentary on him, and I was reminded of how nice he was as a person.

PP: Did you meet him?

JJ: Never. I went to his store, Pop Shop, on Lafayette Street in New York when they had a show of his, but I was too young to dare to . . . I've never been a person who seeks out my idols. I think I'm an idol myself.

PP: Do you have a social life?

JJ: [laughs] To be honest, my social life is my work. It's quite boring to say, but I meet a lot of people, and we have people from different creative disciplines. I enjoy life right now, and I enjoy work.

PP: That's what Andy always said. Work should be fun, and fun should be work. Do you drive a car?

JJ: Yes.

PP: Do you have a Volvo?

JJ: No. [laughs]

PP: I have a Volvo, a 1996 wagon with a turbo engine. Most of the people in my family have Volvos.

JJ: Well, keep it up! You're saving the country. I drive a Mini, to be honest. It's like driving a go-kart. Mine is in British Racing Green Metallic, but it's a convertible with white rims. They're so easy to park, and it doesn't use much petrol, either.

PP: Do you ever go up to reindeer country?

JJ: I am from reindeer country. I am even from beyond there. I grew up in a place called Umeå. It's an eight-hour drive north of Stockholm. I am really from a small town.

PP: Why is Swedish craftsmanship so extraordinary? Everything Swedes touch is harmonious. Your tailoring, for example, is so impeccable. I know this is a cliché, but it seems to be an innate Swedish quality.

JJ: There's a lot of craftsmanship, if you look back in the history. We have H&M and Ikea, but design-wise I think we're also . . . not minimal, but a bit functional. We have something called lagom, which means "just in the middle." We like to be in the middle. [laughs] I don't know how to explain it.

PP: Is that because it's practically a socialist country?

JJ: Probably, yes.

PP: The Swedish government must just love you.

JJ: I don't know. But the princess did come to visit me.

PP: When do you get to the office in the morning?

JJ: Around nine or ten. I actually walk to work, past City Hall, which is a big flintstone for me because Ragnar Östberg, the architect, was from the neoclassic period. He was into nationalism in architecture, so there is a lot of Viking flintstone mixed with Italian piazza and Swedish modernism. I always find something new every time I go past. Then I go over the canal to work. We're in the old part of Stockholm, from the 16th century, so we have a really old building. Our showroom is in a big ballroom. We have a manager named Magnus at the office. So you walk past Magnus and say hello, and he is decorating-he decorates and he takes care of us at the same time. You find different decorations in different corners of the office. He did a lot of sculptures with these paper cones that you pour perfume with.

PP: It's your office manager making sculptures?

JJ: Yes.

PP: So everybody is really creative at ACNE, no matter what their job is supposed to be.

JJ: Yes. I work mainly with the fashion part. I don't like
to sit so much. I basically run around. I visit different people in town and talk to artists.

PP: Are you a collector?

JJ: I am. I love people who collect. I don't know why.

PP: Do you collect people?

JJ: I collect people's experiences. I feel that I build myself not only on my experience, but on other people's. That's important to me. I like to work with people who are better at what they do than I am. I like to work with people who are willing to share.

PP: Do you also collect old guitars?

JJ: do. One of my best friends has the biggest collection of guitars. He plays guitar in the band the Cardigans. I have a small one. But I have a guitar in the office all the time. I change it every month.

PP: What guitar do you have in there now?

JJ: Now I have a Fender Jaguar from 1965. It's black, a custom color, and was made pre-CBS, -before CBS bought Fender.

PP: What do you do at the office?

JJ: Every day I work with shapes and silhouettes. I jump around different departments. One department is doing shoes, another does menswear, another jeans.

PP: I love your children's toys, especially the stuffed-animal bear. The toy factory is in the same building, right?

JJ: Yes, we have five stories. We have a whole building, quite swollen. It's an old bank.

PP: Do you wear ACNE clothes to work?

JJ: The more I work in fashion, the less I dress up. The first pair of jeans I made was for my own body-my "strange body," as I call it.

PP: This collaboration with Alber Elbaz and Lanvin is a cool match.

JJ: It's such a trip, to be honest, to work with somebody I admire. The first collection for Spring-Summer 2009 is all about being dramatic. We found a female bullfighter, the first woman accepted in the ring to do a man's job. We found that so intriguing we started to play with it. We tried to borrow from old bullfighting costumes. I also met with Madame Wang.

PP: She's the owner of Lanvin now and the one who brought on Alber.

JJ: She's smart. Their relationship feels very close. When I asked her if she'd been to Sweden, she said, "Yes, I went with a friend to the Nobel Prize -Ceremony," and I was like, "Whoa."

PP: We haven't mentioned the fact that you have your own magazine, Acne Paper.

JJ: It's our crown jewel. It actually started with a stylist friend of mine, whom I always work with: Mattias Karlsson. He's one of the most important persons for me. I met Thomas Persson through him. We met at a party and started talking. I needed help with some press releases. He wrote one, and I was just blown away. He said, "Well, why don't we do a magazine?" I was like, "Okay, in that case we'll do a real magazine." We said, "Let's try to work with the best, let's do what we want, let's show what we talk about every time we do a collection and what we talk about during the creative process that's never shown in the clothing." Because there's a lot of energy left over. And maybe most important, "Let's go out and try to connect with people."

http://www.interviewmagazine.com/fashio ... hansson/#_

Business of Fashion wrote:Mikael Schiller on Acne’s Unexpected Journey
BY ROBIN MELLERY-PRATT, 2013

As Acne opened its third London store, part of a wider global store rollout, BoF sat down with executive chairman Mikael Schiller to discuss the company’s growth, the perils of private equity money and why he sees himself as a Caribbean fisherman.

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LONDON, United Kingdom — Alongside a thriving wholesale business that ships to 650 global accounts, severely cool Swedish apparel company Acne Studios has grown its network of directly owned and operated stores to a current total of 35 locations; the latest of which has just opened on London’s Pelham Street, in South Kensington. Though the company does have a minority investor that came on board in 2006 and owns 21 percent of the business, unlike many other labels at a similar stage of development, Acne’s retail expansion has been completely organic, financed exclusively through the cash flow generated by the business.

“I think we are going to do about €100 million [turnover] this year,” Mikael Schiller, Acne’s charming and jovial executive chairman, told BoF, as we sat on a set of steps inside the company’s latest store.

Choosing to beat its own retail path by eschewing prime, or “AAA,” locations, the label has, previously, approached store expansion with a fair degree of caution. But, in keeping with its name, Acne is currently experiencing a teenage-like growth spurt — and a boost in confidence as well.

The success of the label’s existing own-store locations in the US and Asia, fashion’s two most important global markets, has prompted Acne to roll out a spate of new stores. Along with a second location in Japan and a 5000-square-foot flagship in downtown LA (café included), the company plans to open two shop-in-shops and a freestanding store in Seoul, as well as a third store in Paris “on the Quai Voltaire, near Dries,” said Schiller.

Because of the baggage it often carries — from private equity funding and conglomerate upscaling to soulless 10 year strategies — the phrase “retail expansion” sits uneasily with Schiller, who was keen to distinguish the label’s growth strategy. “Yes we are opening new stores, but the big change I would say that happened last year was that we opened our own retail in Asia and the US. We opened in New York in June last year and in Tokyo in December,” he said. “We have had a lot of stores for many years; we have been opening stores quite organically for a long time, but Tokyo works really well, New York works really well, and that gave us the self-confidence to open in Osaka and LA.”

Despite Schiller’s uneasiness with the phrase, five more store openings (coming after last year’s Tokyo and New York launches and in addition to last week’s London launch) looks an awful lot like “retail expansion.” But phraseology matters a great deal to Acne Studios, a label that not only publishes its own magazine, Acne Paper, but was founded by a creative collective, “very much influenced by Andy Warhol’s Factory,” which named itself after an acronym of the phrase “Ambition to Create Novel Expressions.”

Indeed, perhaps what is most interesting about the Acne business is its dedication to independent growth and taste for strategies rooted in gut instinct. The company’s fashion business (there is also a creative agency) was founded on the back of 100 pairs of jeans, with distinctive red stitching that were given away to friends, colleagues and families in 1997.

“[Acne] started to make a collection in 1998 — creatively very interesting, very progressive; it got into great stores, got a lot of press,” said Schiller. “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.”

At the time, the difficulties born of being purely creativity-driven were compounded by the fallout of 9/11. “We had to raise money,” Schiller admitted, “but we couldn’t do that, so we basically had to restructure the whole company. I spoke a lot with other people and they said ‘Focus on Sweden and make jeans and t-shirts because that is easy’ and Johnny [Johansson, co-founder, creative director] said ‘I am fine with making it more local for now, but if we are just going to make jeans and t-shirts we are just going to be just another jeans brand, so I am going to go; I am not up for it.”

Acne responded to market realities by focusing on Scandinavia — the label has since opened 19 of its stores there — but it adamantly retained its ready-to-wear collection. This compromise, balancing commercial reality with the label’s dogged desire to preserve its independence and creativity would become its over-arching strategy.

“Yes there are business decisions, yes there are creative decisions, but I think what we feel is that we want to do something that feels great long-term. So maybe I could sell a lot of one product, but that product doesn’t feel good to sell, or we know that it would be great to do this collaboration, but it is not something we are going to be proud of,” said Schiller.

The same balanced, common sense approach informs Acne’s retail strategy. “If we find something we really like and can afford it, we do it. If we find something really cheap, but don’t love it, we don’t do it. If we find something we really love, but can’t afford it we don’t do it.”

In an industry where labels tend to fall into two camps — those that prioritise commerciality and those for whom creativity is king above all commercial reasoning — there is something different about Acne’s approach, pairing creativity with commerciality and a healthy dose of common sense.

“It is not that we don’t like being commercial. It’s great when you have commercial hits. But the thing is, you want to do it with integrity.” When asked how Acne ensured it had the commercial manoeuvring room to maintain its integrity, Schiller responded: “I mean this is not an exact science, but you can have some cautions, like, ‘Ok, we don’t have any debt right now, because if worst comes to worst we could borrow some money from the bank.’”

It’s refreshing that Acne’s strategy can ultimately be posed in such simple terms. But simple terms do not mean simple problems. Acne Studio’s ability to upscale its business, in the manner in which it has, reflects the strong commitment and personal investment of Schiller, Johansson and Mattias Magnusson, Acne’s CEO.

“I met with Kering,” said Schiller. “They are really nice people and, of course, it’s flattering, but we [would] have to be a fully-owned company by them, because that is the strategy, or a majority-owned [company] and then it becomes a totally different ball game. I think being in control is so important to us,” he continued, then paused and added: “I mean we can never say never.”

As for other potential exits, Schiller was open about having been approached by others and the temptations these invitations raised. “There are so many private equity companies that approach me and say, ‘If I gave you $100 million, you could open 50 stores in China. But have you heard the story about the fisherman in the Caribbean?” he asked.

“There is this fisherman in the Caribbean and there is this New York stockbroker who goes there and sees this fisherman bringing up all these fish and [the fisherman] is only there for like 20 minutes, because he gets all the fish [he needs]. And then the stockbroker goes: ‘If you did this all day, could you get as much fish the whole day long?’”

“‘Yes’ the fisherman replied. Then the stockbroker asks, ‘Do you have any friends that you could hire to do that? Do you think you could build a factory?’ ‘Yes’ the fisherman replied again. ‘Then you should do it and then I can take the company public and you could earn a lot of money.’ ‘Why?’ the fisherman asked. The stockbrocker replied: ‘You could do whatever you want, you could go to an island, chill out, maybe go fishing, be with your family.”

‘What, like what I am doing now?’”

http://www.businessoffashion.com/2013/0 ... ering.html

acne thread

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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby Syeknom » Sun Oct 06, 2013 3:49 pm

Wow, didn't know they were such a profitable power house of a company. It's great that they're able to stay independent yet this successful.

Who here has some Acne stuff? Do you feel that the pieces are a good buy for the retail price? I've always mentally written them off as too much for too little but feeling the pieces up in-store tells a different story to seeing them online. Must take a closer look next week in antwerp.
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby maj » Sun Oct 06, 2013 4:05 pm

don't own any myself but from what i've seen in stores it has a very particular cut, everything works well with each other and the material on some of the tees seems cool. looks like one of those brands i could see people chucking money at if they like the design, offers something you really cant get anywhere else (for men at least). it's all quite loose and 'flowy' (for lack of better descriptors) on the top block which is different to most mens cuts, could say OL is similar when it comes to the sweaters/ cut of the tees but OL is infinitely more boring construction/material wise. this said i like the stuff but i know nothing about it more than how it looks /acts to me.

but to add to germs intro they have a vimeo with their collections on

http://vimeo.com/acnestudios
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby thomaspaine » Sun Oct 06, 2013 4:11 pm

I've handled a few acne items and have never come away with being super impressed, especially considering the price. Jeans were nice I guess. I assumed that prices were more reasonable in the EU.

The brand reminds me of APC's cooler Swedish brother, but maybe I just think they're cooler because I've read more articles like the ones above about Acne than I have APC, and because you don't hear about them as often. The lookbook styling is more interesting for sure, but the stuff I see for sale is always super basic.
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby Syeknom » Sun Oct 06, 2013 4:20 pm

They've got some really interesting looking long shirts online
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby can- » Sun Oct 06, 2013 4:23 pm

I think that bit about not explaining themselves really sums up the brand in a nice way. acne is really hard to pin down because (speaking solely of their clothing) they flirt with many different ideas, and they are very opaque. you go into the store which is a little maze with high walls that don't touch the ceiling and the carpeting looks like grass so you feel like you're in a Alice in wonderland courtyard. and they make silly lux sneakers, huge slouchy coats, fine tailoring, hoodies, pretty much everything. and there's an aesthetic (better to say 'direction') but it's not obvious-- you see how one person would wear all these things, but they only seem to relate tangentially. it's the opposite of a brand like acronym or jil sander, where you can use one or two words which will properly encompass almost everything they produce.

when you look at their gear you have to remember that it's a luxury brand and a lot of items are pretty clearly marked up for people who won't look at price tags. they have some nice slouchy unstructured overcoats this season, they are in a great wool and you probably won't find many other brands using the same quality and the same fit, but realistically the 1400$ tag is impossible to justify. OTOH I think the denim is worth RRP and many of their more unique items seem to be priced quite fairly. the Matteo / (now Vancouver) jacket sticks out-- it's a double down jacket with two full pieces that snap together, has a thickly padded down hood and generally looks like nothing I've ever seen and is sub1000.

their website is 404ing but they also have a double layer hoodie this season that's really impressive. it's a proper designer take on an American collegiate hoodie.
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby germinal » Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:10 pm

i like acne for various reasons.
They're clever at designing for the present. by this i mean they're very good at designing the clothes that people what to wear in that moment. their clothes, outside the basics, are not even remotely timeless and deliberately so. this isn't to say they cheaply follow trends, in fact they're more often the not the ones setting them. look through a tommy ton slideshow each season and you can bet one of the hype pieces will be acne, yet somehow they don't come across nearly as obnoxiously as kenzo et al. they burrow through that interstice between of-the-moment and cheap, lazy design and somehow come out the other side looking great.
Speaking of which, they're superb at presenting their product. their website and styling is impeccable, their shops are beautiful and their magazine, carefully chosen -collabs, other projects etc all feed into a very considered brand image. popular opinion says there's a sort of style over substance to their brand, a sort of flimsiness, and i think to a certain extent that's true: they're designers who happen to make clothes rather than tailors with good taste. however they also maintain extensive, well-priced, well-made basics and jeans lines; i have a shirt which must date back to 2008 that i still wear regularly, and has yet to show its age.
They're very swedish - and i think, even if they aren't responsible for codifying it, they typify that "swedish look" (you know the one) - but they are also a global brand.
Their product line (especially the women's) is extensive to a fault. like ben says it makes them difficult to pin down. they offer a total shopping experience and it would be easy to shop with them exclusively, for any occasion, and look cooler than your friends with minimal effort; i'm sure many people do this.
i'm certain they must understate in interviews their business savvy. they've repositioned themselves expertly over the years from denim brand to luxury label, yet they've kept their denim at the forefront. they're unique amongst their luxury competitors to offer a cool and desirable jeans line.

Anyway i made this thread because i find their positioning interesting. they seem on the cusp of everything. somewhere between a household name and fashion's little secret; somewhere between contemporary basics and luxury brand; somewhere between great design and throwaway trends
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby ramseames » Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:59 pm

I just have a pair of jeans from them. Really, they're quite nice and the construction seems good and they feel good to wear, but there was nothing really attracting me to them beyond "I need black denim, they make nice black denim, etc". Can't see myself buying much else really, don't see the value behind most of their pricepoints and even the really interesting stuff like some of their cooler prints or more complex outerwear (rex anorak and the vancouver look great) just isn't what I'd buy, the design always has a little bit of that boringness that lets them have such mass appeal.
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby Bobbin.Threadbare » Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:09 pm

A lot of my friends like acne, but I'm not that impressed. I think their design exceeds their production quality, and it's a bit of a shame. That said, they can be quite cool, and it's a shop I've sent friends to and told them they can buy any combination of items and wear them together stylishly.
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby starfox64 » Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:05 pm

Bobbin.Threadbare wrote:I think their design exceeds their production quality


This is true for like 90% of brands that aren't workwear
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby Syeknom » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:22 am

Stockholm Flagship

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Tokyo

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Antwerp one is tiny and cramped.

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London one on Dover Street has a piano

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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby Syeknom » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:39 am

germinal wrote:Their product line (especially the women's) is extensive to a fault. like ben says it makes them difficult to pin down. they offer a total shopping experience and it would be easy to shop with them exclusively, for any occasion, and look cooler than your friends with minimal effort; i'm sure many people do this.


I think this is key and is something Swedish brands (at least, the big internationally famous ones) do extremely well. It's all about the shopping experience and ease and that's what catapults them to the big leagues. IKEA is horrible but when you enter you get guided along a little pathway oggling perfectly designed rooms, pick up everything in the warehouse and always exit the shop having spent hundreds more than intended. H&M is so easy to buy exclusively from (unlike other fast fashion) and hits its demographics perfectly. Acne carry this on to the luxury consumption market - you could fill your wardrobe with their stuff just from a single shopping trip to a store or online. It requires very little consumer thought, patience or work which must appeal greatly to their demographic. Everything is clean, spacious and perfectly designed for easy consumption. The starkness and "minimalist" design to the stores (web and retail) along with the out-of-the-way retail locations are pretty empowering and make one feel like you have taste for shopping there and are a connoisseur rather than, say, the experience of a department store or more full-on lux. brand.

They're clearly very good at this kind of market positioning and it's such a quietly strange phenomenon that these Swedish brands have changed how we see the consumer experience in a way that brands from other countries haven't managed.
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby sknss » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:50 am

The Acne store rue Froissart in Paris is pretty intimidating. There is no other indication from the street than a little ACNE plate - no clothes are displayed on the store front. You can only see the huge yellow sliding door.

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Jeans are upstairs
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There is another store near Palais Royal but I haven't been there (yet)
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby bels » Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:37 am

I quite like Acne but can't bring myself to pay what they're asking for their basics. That said the pair of khakis I had from them was really nice. Elastane blend so nice and comfy, good button/zip/lining. Not super heavyweight. Great "fit" (hate saying something has great fit but it really did fit me nicely)

Still considering the parka though.

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Like the way it's styled there with the long shirt (though can't see myself dressing like that)

Think comparisons to APC aren't really fair. It doesn't look to me that APC do any statement pieces, it's all homages and repros and basics wheras acne does some stuff that does look quite "Acne"

If I had infinicash I think I'd love to buy only their stuff.
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby can- » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:05 am

the Vancouver has a million great details, but it also has a fat strip of velcro that runs all across the back at the waist which was absent on the Matteo that puts me off it. reminds me of an old navy shirt i had in 4th grade that has bits of velcro on the front instead of buttons and velcro cuffs.
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby teck » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:14 pm

first went into an acne store when i was really really up into the american workwear look (blue in green is across the way and to this day i can't go to one store without going to the other. the juxtaposition is jarring but its a great counterpoint. i know they didn't plan it that way but its cool as a consumer to be able to teleport from one aesthetic to another) and i was blown away by how clear their "direction" was. here was a place that offered up a perfectly contemporary look that wasn't backwards looking but wasn't avant garde. it was fantastical but promised wearability.

my gf is obsessed with it and she turned me onto the brand as a whole. theyve got some womenwear denim pieces which are like basic and statement at once. i think they're leather outwear is amazing and i think they get dinged by leather snobs because they're not some motorcycling-japanese-repro-custommade-jerkoff brand.

i really like their shoes but ben hates them.

a lot of the furniture in their soho store is furry, which adds to this very tactile sentiment throughout the experience. their clothes begs to be touched.

i have one drop shoulder t-shirt, which is prob my fave t-shirt. their on sale tees are the only thing i can bring myself to buy, the prices are a bit ludi.
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby hooplah » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:18 pm

i want to post a fatass album of acne looks but there is no way to embed an imgur album on this forum, right?

acne fw 2012 is like my dream man
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby sknss » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:27 pm

no but you can upload your images (not in an album) and then click on Generate multiple links and paste that
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby hooplah » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:31 pm

there's like 63 pics, i don't want to overwhelm haha
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby sknss » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:45 pm

i don't think anyone's going to be mad that you're contributing
put them under a spoiler if you don't want the page to take too long to load
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby midvh » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:46 pm

i love acne, got a bunch of pieces from various seasons

bought a scarf (canada?) the other day, can honestly say that it was my best purchase in a while.
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby hooplah » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:53 pm

there are like randomly awesome acne things, i bought this basic tank top off ebay and it is by far my favorite tank top i've ever owned, i wore it for like a week straight once hahaha
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby bels » Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:49 pm

hooplah wrote:there are like randomly awesome acne things, i bought this basic tank top off ebay and it is by far my favorite tank top i've ever owned, i wore it for like a week straight once hahaha


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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby hooplah » Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:58 pm

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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby Syeknom » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:05 pm

midvh wrote:i love acne, got a bunch of pieces from various seasons

bought a scarf (canada?) the other day, can honestly say that it was my best purchase in a while.


Share some pics of your pieces!
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby can- » Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:21 pm

hooplah, you can generate the links (ask imgur for linked bbcode and 'medium' or 'large thumbnail' and post it under the spoiler tag.
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby ramseames » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:18 am

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Friend's parents bought him this from what I presume was the flagship store in Stockholm. Not something I'd wear but its a pretty nice piece.
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby midvh » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:45 am

Syeknom wrote:
midvh wrote:i love acne, got a bunch of pieces from various seasons

bought a scarf (canada?) the other day, can honestly say that it was my best purchase in a while.


Share some pics of your pieces!


Yeah, sure, could probably do that.

ramseames wrote:
Friend's parents bought him this from what I presume was the flagship store in Stockholm. Not something I'd wear but its a pretty nice piece.


The flagship store is located at Norrmalmstorg (in the same building where the hostage drama which coined the term "stockholm syndrome" occurred), it's a pretty cool store.

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I actually got a friend who works there, seems like nice place.
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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby hooplah » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:21 pm

i recently learned that there is a syndrome that is the opposite of stockholm syndrome, called "lima syndrome," named after an incident in the japanese embassy in lima, peru where the captors began to take pity on the hostages and released them all

okay here are some of my favorite looks, there are about 70 pics under the spoiler cut

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Re: Acne Vulgaris

Postby bels » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:55 pm

I tried on the parka in 48. It fit OK and probably a 46 would be to small but it really is totally gigantic. Guess it cinches in with the Velcro but still.

Made me look like a heavily armoured grunt enemy with extra hit points.
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