Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Acne can do it too

Depending on who you ask, you could hear that Acne is known for their great jeans, or you could hear that their jeans aren't anything special at all. If you ask me, I would be a bit more balanced and say that I do think that Acne was at a time almost revolutionary with their clean, well-fitting and nice looking understated jeans, but that there are much better jeans available to the denim enthusiast today(well, it was back then too since many Japanese brands are 10+ years old, but I'm thinking more of what is/was available to me as a European before. Of course, LVC existed then too.)

Acne has since taken a backseat and aren't really touted as a great brand for jeans anymore, though it is still very popular among the masses(not trying to be elitist here.) One reason is surely that the brand name is now so established that everyone knows it, that the fashion-y does not want to buy it anymore. , no fun in having what everyone else has. Another reason could be that the raw denim trend is turning consumers to other brands that simply use better denim.
Acne in general does not make me think of exceptional quality and I certainly wouldn't get a pair of Acnes as my project jeans, but there is a glaring exception in Acne's lineup; Moc Raw.
I'm don't mean to hype them or say that they are as nice as Sugarcane or the likes, but to show that Acne's jeans can also produce nice results. I would not try to break in any other pair of Acnes though, Max Raw for example is a monumental waste of time, you've been warned!

This if my friend Adrien's jeans, he wore them for about 6 months and washed them 7-8 times, because he wanted a lighter color. The denim still has a good amount of color in it, but the frequent washing kept honeycombs and creases in general from really forming and fading.

Comparing the denim to my S0500XX.

This next pair belong to Johan Rundcrantz who also has a blog, in Swedish though.
They have about 10 months of effective wear in them and have been washed 2-3 times.


I like the style of a some pieces in Acne's latest collections, AW 07 for example, because they do have some of a 50-60's feeling to them, even though the silhouette is often slimmed down a bit. I would say that Acne does well at style, but somewhat fails at execution - their jeans for example are made of denim that is not at the same level as their designs.
I am certain that Acne is would be very capable of making jeans that are top of the line, even in comparison to the Japanese brands, if they really wanted to - to be honest, I think they have to, to regain the title as a great jeans maker with a flagship model.
If they did attempt making a higher quality jean I'm sure I would like it, but I probably would not buy it, because I fear that they would be grossly overpriced, as I feel some other of Acne's pieces are. They certainly know how much they can charge.


rippedbackpocket said...

For the record.

I don't think that Acne ever had (or will have) the ambition of doing 5-pockets in the kind of ring spun qualitys that most vintage nerds like you (and me) would concider "true to the heritage".
When Ann Sofie back worked with Jonny in the early days she set a standard that "poor looking indigo's the shit". (Anyone who knows her work also knows her love for "ugly" and "cheap" fabrics in general)
She consistantly refused to work with ring/ring fabrics and rather turned to the open end yarn options everyone else rejected as fucking horrible.
"Let Diesel do the Levi rip-offs, I'm not touching it" was her words at the time. Referring to the "Old Glory" line.
By the time Richard Hutchinson joined the design team at Acne (who shared the same love for the same crappy denim) the "Acne look" was already established.
As an avid collector of vintage denim for more than 13 years, I also appreciate the cheap 80's look you get after wearing and washing.
Check out any pair of 501's (US production) from the mid 80's and you'll see the same quality.
I think it's important to understand the criterias behind the fabrics to fully apreciate the look.

On a side note:
All these vintage replicas are complete bullshit if you ask me. It feels refreshing that a brand like Acne stay faaar away from trying to do vintage stereotype denim (I have a 506 XX Type one jacket in the bookshelf, so I grant myself the right to be somewhat conservative..)

Love the blog, keep that indigo pumpin in your veins!

spacelounge said...

Thanks for a great history lesson! I have a lot to learn.

I understand why you think Acne won't make a premium model, but there are also reasons to believe that they will.
A big thing for Acne has been their washes and modern cuts, but times are changing and other brands have catched up with their washes and cuts, and Acne currently does not have a great raw pair of jeans in their collection(in my opinion).

I think that not creating a flagship model would mean giving a walk over in the dry denim market which is steadily growing.
Also, Acne is going to release straight cut jeans made from Japanese selvedge denim, so they're kind of doing it already?
It just remains to see how well it is executed.
They're definitely going back to fuller cuts, but it remains to see how 'vintage-like' they will be.

What is it you don't like about vintage replicas, do you mean the Japanese brands or LVC or reproductions as a whole?
To me it feels like the only jeans that are actually jeans are vintage-style repros, or originals, of course.
I don't really think of low-rise, skinny cuts as jeans nowdays, they're more like pants than dungarees.

By the way, I liked your blog and I will be reading it for sure! Very interested in you collection.
I kind of agree with this:

"The only (proper) way to wear denim in style this (and coming season) is with a mid waist, drain-pipes and small turn-ups to get that high-tide length. Chucks or brogues, depending on the evenings event.
Think Thom Browne without the "silly length" and you'll do fine. (Or skinhead)
Preferrably with a cropped gingham shortsleeved shirt from band of outsiders."

I prefer buying vintage long-sleeve ginghams though :)

Is your type one jacket an original? I have type one... but it's a repro ;)

And one last thing, can you send me an email? I couldn't find yours and I'd like to ask you something.

rippedbackpocket said...

I completely agree that Acne to not have a descent unwashed option in the collection. It's sad concidering that the original MIC (the one with the red stithcing) is still one of my favourite pair of jeans, all time. (I'll post a pic soon..)

Sometimes brands tend to kill their darlings just for the sake of "industry of cool" instead of minding their heritage. It's as if a pair of raw denims wasn't "antwerp 6" enough to stay in Acne's collection. Real stupid decision.
Even though I have great respect for what they do, I also think they need to come down to earth and stop taking fashion (and themselves) so seriously.
Anyone who's been to CPH vision and seen the acne sales-team knows what I mean.
It's a rather tedious (and very un-modern) approach in the industry. And, it will be their downfall, should they not watch their backs.
I think I will try to persuade Cheap Monday to buy Acne and make them their bitches :-)

spacelounge said...

I agree, the MICs with red stitching are perhaps the best Swedish jeans ever made! I have a pair, I should take some pics too.

So Cheap Monday is financially more powerful than Acne?
I hope Acne gets their act together denim-wise.
I like their clothes but never buy them because they are too expensive, 'cool' and of course, popular and common.

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