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Saving Face


If you haven’t heard the term ‘Scandinavian’ on countless design forums, Netflix documentaries or style blogs over the last few years, you’ve probably been living under a rock. ‘Scandi’ has become synonymous with minimalism, functionality and simplicity. And that’s exactly what Acne Studios represents… with an edge. Acne, or Ambition to Create Novel Expression, is everything Swedish style is famous for, but with an artistic twist that sets it a step above the rest.


When you think of Acne Studios, a number of things may come to mind… blush pink shoe boxes, the bi-annual paper, or Blå Konst (Blue Art in Swedish) denim to name a few, but probably the most recognisable is the simple brand motif that has adorned hoodies, hats and sneakers regularly since 2017. Two small circles and a hard line create the face of the brand. Not happy, not sad, just a perpetual state of ‘meh’ (or as founder and creative director Jonny Johannsen describes it, ‘the somewhere in between’). But while this has become a recognisable symbol of the brand, the clothes are anything but ‘meh’. Everything from accessories (like the Grain Black Leather Tote) to sneakers (like the Betrand W Trekking Boot) have a flair that you haven’t seen elsewhere and are done so well, it’s impossible to imitate.


Looking back, ‘meh’ may just be the perfect description for how 2020 has gone so far, but let’s break down the positives from this time. We find ourselves looking back on our better days with affection and a desire to come out the other side with a new zeal for all that we took for granted before. Acne Studios have been thinking along the same lines and that has happily resulted in bringing back the greatest in 90s denim. Take a trip down memory lane with the 1993 Stone Grey Tapered Jean, with a high-rise waist and slouchy fit, or the 1991 Toj Light Blue Trash Jean with its paper bag waist and cropped leg.


In true Swedish style, Acne Studios aesthetic may be minimal but it’s not about stripping back your choices. It’s showcasing that you carefully choose what not to have but selecting the quintessential, the perfect item instead of a close match. It’s effortless, it’s standout, it’s novel. And it’s a formula that never fails.