Acne Studios plays the game according to its own rules and wins
In an article entitled How to Succeed in Fashion Without Trying Too Hard published in the Wall Street Journal dated 15th March 2013, Lynn Yager explained:
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.
ACNE – standing for Ambition to Create Novel Expression – was founded in Stockholm in 1996 as a creative collective, the Swedish successor of Warhol’s New York Factory. The first garments created by the brand were 100 pairs of jeans with red stitching that were given away by co-founder and designer Jonny Johansson. This is seen today the foundation of the Acne brand and Studios.
Today, only 16 years later the Acne brand is distributed worldwide. Acne however has never spent money on advertising; instead it market itself through its own bi-annual culture magazine: Acne Paper. Acne also excels at setting up stron and evocative collaborations. In the year 2008 alone Acne Studios designed: a bicycle with bike manufacturer Bianchi Bicycles, a denim capsule collection for Lanvin and a pair of “gentleman’s jeans” for the magazine Fantastic Man.
Acne collaboration with photographic artist Katerina Jebb started in 2010 when Acne asked her to create a video featuring a Swarovski solitaire crystal. Born in England in 1962 Katerina Jebb studied photography in California. While working for French newspaper Liberation in 1991 she was involved in a car accident which left her right arm paralyzed. Her website explains: To resolve the inability to hold a camera, Jebb began to employ machines to make life-size images, primarily self-portraits lying herself down on a high resolution scanning machine. Progressively, she diversified, posing subjects and objects, exploring the medium in parallel with the expanding possibilities in digital technology. Jebb proceeded to remove parts of the scanner to facilitate maximum extension of the subject. The duration of each passage of the scanner echoed early photographic principles, being seven minutes long, therefore demanding of the sitter to lie motionless for 28 minutes.
This technique is the one reproduced in the fantastic video commissioned by Acne in 2010 and shown below. The latest video, shown above and entitled ACNE 13 OBJECTS DOCUMENTED BY KATERINA JEBB was produced by Art Department a creative agency founded in 1995 and specialised in collaboration with artists and ‘discerning’ clients. Its simple concept is both powerful and effective.