Founded in 1996 as part of a larger Stockholm-based creative collective also called ACNE (which stands for "Ambition to Create Novel Expressions”), Acne Studios has slowly evolved into an eclectic global fashion house, bringing their distinct Swedish aesthetic to the masses. What began with a borderline repulsive name has carried itself into the brands counter-intuitive growth strategy; with no obvious marketing ploys and an initial focus on creating strong individual products and flagship stores rather than large collections for wholesale, they’ve succeeded in growing an organic and fiercely loyal customer base.

Creative director Jonny Johansson launched the brand with a small run of 100 pairs of raw denim made with red stitching, which he gave away to friends and family in a hopes that this guerrilla marketing would be enough to attract other customers to buy their own. The jeans were a hit and with big spreads in Wallpaper, French Vogue, and Swedish Elle, he knew he was onto something and began growing the brand into a full collection of products.

Today, Acne counts flagship stores in Paris, London, New York City, Los Angeles and Tokyo, hundreds of retailers worldwide, a standalone showroom in Paris, seasonal runway shows for both men’s and women’s collections, and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. With their seasonal design aesthetic shifting towards avant-garde androgyny, Acne continues to keep themselves at the forefront of contemporary fashion, while their long-term strategy stays grounded in the denim and tailored basics they are known for. Acne has even since branched out with seasonal artist collaborations including non-fashion items such as furniture and bicycles, and a bi-annual magazine, Acne Paper, whose contributors have included Carine Roitfeld, Noam Chomsky, David Lynch, and Lord Snowdon.

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