As close associates with fellow Berlin-based technical brand, BEINGHUNTED secures an interview with Acronym founder, Errolson Hugh in regards to the latest Fall/Winter 2011 collection. The two friends speak candidly over arguably the world’s most technically-driven lifestyle brand including the philosophy of Acronym, the new marquee SS-CP1 Cloak, and the development of a women’s line. Head over to BEINGHUNTED to see the full interview piece.
Fall/Winter is THE season for jackets, my favorite season (not for the actual weather, though). What jackets, coats, etc. – besides your own – do you like?
I’m (still) into East and West German military at the moment. We recently found a cold war era West German Splitterschutzweste (flak vest). It has an asymmetric closure that’s totally unorthodox and, at the same time, totally right. It’s amazing..
Before we talk about your new collection, tell us about the development of Acronym as a design studio over the past 2-3 years. You have grown quite a bit?
Two years ago I started working with Johanna, my first assistant in Berlin. Recently, the team has grown to where we can do everything we need to do without ever leaving the building: product, identity, film, strategy, dumplings, cake, interpretive dance… We’re all freelance, and all running additional individual projects, so there’s massive throughput. Lots to do. Lots to absorb. Lots to learn. Michaela in Brooklyn, Turbo in Tokyo, Bagjack, and our factory in CZ, continue to evolve as the other major hubs in the network. Watch this space.
All growth is relative, though. The next smallest company doing comparable work is (last I checked) upwards of 50 times larger than we are. The largest players on the field -some tens of thousands of times (yes, that’s several million percent bigger). Think about what this means. So, in relation to that, we’ve grown from infintessimally small, to still really really freaking small. But this is OK; we know Kung Fu.
One of the highlights from the new collection is the SS-CP1 Cloak. How would you rate the balance between functionality and style of this piece and how does this cloak fit into the bigger ACR picture?
Throughout prototyping everyone who saw SS-CP1 had a similar question, ‘You’re not actually going to make that, are you?’. It developed out of Johanna and I messing around with dead stock fabric at the factory. We were just cutting things up and trying them on. Making things for our own personal use. The early capes immediately felt right, but I wasn’t sure they qualified as Acronym. Later, in Los Angeles, I showed one to Michaela and her reaction was the same as mine, ‘Weird, but somehow… great.’ Still later, and then back in Berlin, a friend (concept designer Stephen Platt) and I were discussing movement and posture, low and high ready position… stance (yeah, we talk about this kind of stuff all the time). I showed him a proto, and we had the idea to add Interops functionality to it. That’s when it really finally clicked.
In the end, what makes an Acronym piece, for me, is a very specific kind of balance, but it’s not something I can describe well with words. Technical as it may be, it can’t be reduced to a formula. So, no, SS-CP1 is not protective in the same way a jacket is. And, yes, it violates pretty much every design rule there is for technical outerwear. It is, however, totally Acronym. Absolutely. I was wearing mine today.
For the first time your collection also has three styles for women: a trench coat, a variable softshell, and a cloak. What is the difference in designing women’s pieces for Acronym as compared to men’s?
Conceptually, there’s no difference whatsoever. Practically, there are the obvious anatomic and physiological differences, and, of course, the differing degree of knowledge and experience that we can bring to bear. We’re just getting started with women’s wear. It’s wide open, uncharted territory.