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: © Acne Studios (press room)
About Jonny Johansson
Jonny Johansson founded Acne Studios (Ambition to Create Novel Expression) in 1996, together with three other entrepreneurs. At the time, Johansson was only 26 years old. His father had always been a great inspiration, since he dresses according to his very own signature style. When Johansson was a kid, he sometimes felt embarrassed about it. His dad just didn’t fit in. When he grew older, he started to realize that ‘not fitting in’ makes you unique. Johansson became convinced that there’s no ‘best way of dressing’ – clothes should be interpreted in your own, individual way. He likes to see fashion as a creative expression rather than a ‘celebrity circus’.
It’s hard to describe Acne Studios’ sense of style, since it’s minimalistic, timeless, yet outgoing. Johansson is able to combine eccentric and essential elements in one collection or even one single item. It’s clear Johansson likes contrasts and doesn’t go for easily aesthetic products. Accordingly, Acne Studios’ first collection consisted of many pairs of raw jeans sewed with red stitches. Johansson donated the jeans to his friends, but they wouldn’t wear them, because the designer’s aesthetic isn’t always easy to readily understand.
Johansson would describe Acne Studios’ style as maximalist minimalism. The first worldwide collection hit stores in 1997, when his ‘weird jeans’ finally became popular after being featured in magazines as Vogue Paris and Elle Sweden. Since then, the spirit of every collection is to be provocative; quite in the same way as music can be. According to the designer, fashion is about self-expression. Therefore, Acne Studios’ collections often are both contemporary and classic; always with a twist. The huge differences between each collection have to do with the designer’s fascination for contradictions, paying attention to details and using custom-made fabrics, making every collection unique and surprising.
The face motif
As unique and surprising the collections are, the more recognizable is the face motif is. It was developed to depict a ‘common Swedish citizen’; not very happy, not very sad. Just lagom. In 2017, Acne Studios launched an entire face motif collection, dedicated to families. Aiming to portray families of today, it suits the inclusion the fashion label is known for. Past campaigns include ‘untraditional’ families, screaming inclusivity.
Acne Studios store concepts
When visiting at least two Acne Studios flagship stores, you know they all have different interiors. It demonstrates Johansson is not only intrigued by fashion, but also by interiors. He loves inventing new concepts. Every store is conceptual and many look like a gallery rather than a fashion boutique. Yet another point that fits perfectly with the authentic brand and the view of doing things differently.
Acne Studios’ big pink bag has become a classic. Just as with the first collection of red-stitched jeans, people thought these pink bags were ugly and weird. Pink used to be viewed as an ugly colour (those were the times before Millenial Pink would make its entrance). That’s exactly what Johansson likes and what makes Acne Studios such a major success: the designer doesn’t take the easy road, but rather 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. Exactly what Acne stands for.