Jonny Johansson Talks About the Successful Journey of Acne Studios

Although the denim market is saturated with a plethora of brands, there are still labels that continue to set themselves apart from the competition. These are the labels that understand how it’s extremely difficult to create the perfect pair of jeans for the consumer but still strive to do so. One particular company that has helped denim be categorized as a wardrobe staple is Acne Studios, which has remained true to its philosophy since its launch back in 1997. had the opportunity to sit down with the founder Jonny Johansson to talk about the journey of Acne and the other denim brands that inspire him. Check out excerpts from the interview below and head over to for the full read.

Acne Studios’ entrance into the denim market has been told often enough that the story has made it onto the brand’s Wikipedia page. Can you tell it again?

Acne was built on the Warholian Factory idea. I thought it would be so cool to be a film director and a fashion designer and maybe a musician. We had these big round-table discussions: How do we enter the fashion thing? What the discussion came down to basically was that five-pocket jeans are the Coca-Cola of fashion. It was never about doing some new denim approach. That was never the idea. We had success with the first 100 pairs we gave to fans and friends and photographers we knew, and forced them to wear. It was a very good start but also a very shocking start. Everything happened really fast. We wanted to be a fashion brand, not just a denim brand, but we got placed in the denim box. It was a bit of a struggle to try to make people interested in the other stuff we wanted to do. We were scared to be this one-product project where you’re hip for a certain moment because you have a new name.

When you look around, are there brands you think are doing interesting things in the denim sphere?

I always like A.P.C. They’ve carved out this timeless zone. They’re never really in and they’re never really out, which I kind of like. And they sort of sprung up in the same period as we did. Not maybe in everything, but regarding the jeans, they’re the brand I like.

As a Levi’s fan from your earliest days, when you look at Levi’s now, what do you think?

Confused. It makes me confused. I’m sorry, that’s the first word that comes to my mind. I think it’s about scale. It’s really a super-big machine that supplies everyone everything. That’s difficult always.

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