For most of us, clothes are an extension of our persona; they give us the chance to stand out from the crowd (as well as the opportunity to blend in), to make a statement about who we are without having to utter a word.
Yet clothes are not merely a part of our own social make up, they span a global audience, defining us not only as individuals but by nation states. Think of the UK high street and the sense of street style that comes with it, or the French and their penchant for suave sophistication. Or how about the Americans and their Ivy League prep attire which has seen the global expansion of Varsity jackets, chinos and loafer combinations or the Japanese with those myriad of colours and costumes us Westerners would wear to a fancy dress party.
However, for all the nations around the world attempting to claim the throne as the fashion / style kings one area continually appears on the lips of bloggers, stylists and editors, no matter where they are based: Scandinavia.
They may be a small group of countries tucked away in the northern hemisphere but if you want a fusion of contemporary cuts and prints merged with an understanding of classic tailoring, may we here at MFM suggest you look no further than those bright lights in the North.
At the tip of that style iceberg lies Swedish brand Acne Studios, who for the best part of the last decade have been cutting a swathe through the fashion industry with their unique approach to tailoring, keen eye for detail and a style which manages to stand out as Acne Studios no matter where it is in the world.
Founded in 1996 by Jonny Johansson who wanted to find an outlet for his love of architect cure, photography and contemporary culture, the brand has since established itself between the fine lines of high-end fashion designers and the uber cool niche brands which have enabled Acne Studios to create a place in the fashion market most fashion houses can only dream of.
The beauty – and success of Acne Studios – has come about because where others follow, they lead. Think of t-shirts short in length and with sleeves almost touching the elbow, that’s ACNE. Tapered trousers cut high above the ankle, that’ll be ACNE. Oversized winter coats worn ‘off’ the shoulder with wide cuffs, you guessed it, that’s ACNE too.
It’s not just the cut of their cloth either. Stripes (S/S ’13), candy floss turquoise and soft oranges (S/S ’12), floral prints (A/W ’13) have always played a key part in the Acne Studios DNA and have helped to ensure the brand are one step ahead of their competitors.
Outfit 1: This is the casual side of Acne Studios – the man who has had a hard week at work and wants to spend the weekend unwinding with his girlfriend while they wander winter markets, sip on Belgium beers and peruse the boutiques of quirky little towns.
Outfit 2: Acne Studios do formal in a way few brands do, with aplomb. This season trousers are cut high (a key trend which shows few signs of abating), blazers cut slim, oversize coats and shoes so chic the French will be ashamed they didn’t think of them first. For an understated difference, why not try it with an oversize, tail shirt. Remember, this is Acne Studios, being subtlety diverse is what it’s all about.
Outfit 3: It doesn’t matter whether you’re buying your first item of Acne clothing or have been a part of the brands story from the very beginning, the trend pieces they produce year after year ensure you can always be a part of the action. From puffa jackets to print tees, brogues to letter sweats, it’s hard to imagine Acne will ever be anything but an integral part of the fashion zeitgeist.
Conclusion: The more I wrote about this article, the deeper I delved into the images and clothes that come out of one of Scandinavia’s leading fashion brands, the more I found myself wanting every little piece of the Acne clothing line.
It didn’t matter whether it was floral print t-shirts or shirts, high-hemmed trousers, oversized shearling coats in delicious light browns, bomber jackets or tie-dye sweaters, every image I saw I fell in love with.
The cuts and shapes are so distinct, they are brave, fearless and contemporary – as all good fashion should be – but most of all, one peers at those elegant silhouettes, those clean Scandinavian lines and no matter where you are in the world, you know immediately they are Acne Studios.