Acne Studios is often thought of as the face of minimalism. Pair a black T-shirt with blue Acne jeans and white Common Projects, and you are instantly in the uniform of the cult of minimalism. Acne’s founder and creative director, Jonny Johansson, merges eccentric Swedish design with his aspiration to be current, propelling the reverence of minimalists globally. However, Johansson identifies as a maximalist, and sees maximal minimalism as the main appeal of Acne Studios. Johansson’s periodic maximalist flair—from the brand’s (occasionally controversial) campaigns to the pale pink color of Acne’s shopping bags—have rounded out Acne Studios’ subdued designs and made his wildly successful label a staple within fashion for two decades.

Jonny Johansson was born in a small town in Sweden called Umeå, eight hours north of Stockholm, on April 18, 1970. Johansson, whose mom was artistic and whose dad was a musician, was exposed to creative pursuits at a young age. As a young boy, Johansson was influenced by traditionally Swedish design and even his grandparent’s furniture. However, he did not want to be a fashion designer. Initially taking after his father, he “wanted to be a musician, [he] wanted to be in a band.”

After finishing high school, Johansson formed a rock band named Violet. As the frontman for the band, Johansson was in charge of set design, choosing the clothing for each show and making the posters. Johansson ended up bouncing back-and-forth between bands, as his role in them shifted to in pursuit of a holistic artistic experience. In an interview with Net-A-Porter, Johansson said, “I also felt that being a creative is more than just one sort of sense, one sort of expression, it’s a lot of things that come together.”

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