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.