By Max Berlinger.
"Denim is very personal to me, and to everyone else at Acne Studios," says the brand's founder and creative director Jonny Johansson. "I will always love denim as it is a part of our roots, our DNA."
When Acne launched a clothing brand 20 years ago, they're primary focus was denim. In the two decades since, Acne has evolved into one of the more forward-thinking brands out there, a blend of idiosyncratic design and cool-kid pieces like their enviable array of outerwear seen on stylish guys from Williamsburg to Silverlake to Paris. Today, however, the brand is returning its focus back to its origins, with the launch of Blå Konst (which translates to "blue art") a denim-centric line that will consist of a permanent collection featuring a skinny, straight, and and baggy fit for both men and women, and a seasonal collection with a full range of clothing and some non-denim pieces.
As he says, Johansson feels a very personal connection to this project that builds on the brand's denim tradition. "I always had a vision of Acne Studios being a design-driven brand, even since we launched the first 100 pairs of jeans. I am very inspired by art and music and everything that’s current right now. The ambition was never to be only a denim brand. But now it was time to make sure that our denim is on the same level as our seasonal collections." His first memory of fashion is, fittingly, about jeans: "I can remember that I was embarrassed by my mom’s jeans because the fit was so awful, I wanted to change the pockets placement," he says. "Today I realize they were kind of cool. Or at least she was."
A big milestone like a twenty year anniversary is as good as any to take a step back and reassess what you've been doing. It also happens to come at a time when the fashion industry has hit peak denim, and people are looking for other pant options to round out their wardrobe. "I think denim has become quite a lazy field in design, with many people relying on the same design details in an attempt to appear authentic, like using selvage denim," Johansson says. "I wanted to find new details that worked for us, like overlocking the seams to create a white edge, or changing the number of belt loops for a better fit and hold — two at the front, five at the back."
While one part of the Blå Konst collection is about enduring design that can transcend trends, the other focuses on a more season-driven aesthetic. For the debut, Johansson and his team was inspired by his native country's natural elements. "I was thinking about what we wear in the Swedish countryside, where I spend as much time as I can," he says. "I was also thinking about the anonymity of workwear, and how it can be worn by anyone, no matter who they are or what they do. It was really fun to design the pieces, and it’s an energy I want to capture with each season as this moves forward."
Acne is no slouch when it comes to their denim, so this is news that will no doubt interest anyone out there who appreciates a good pair of jeans (i.e. everyone). Check out the new collection and buy your favorite pair here.
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This story originally appeared on GQ.
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