The Swedish house’s Fall 2020 collection is characterized by a reimagining of vintage workwear and an extensive collaboration with British artist Lydia Blakely. Much of her work examines human culture’s interaction with animals, especially dogs. These signature dogs are screen-printed on cotton staples throughout the collection, such as T-shirts, lumberjack-inspired flannels, and classic denim.
This love of man’s best friend forms the central motif of the campaign, which features Acne Studios’ team members and their dogs. Creative director Jonny Johansson conceived it as a way to explore and celebrate that palpable but mysterious relationship that develops among dogs and their owners.
A while ago I became a dog owner myself. Ever since then I’ve started to notice the ‘dog people’, walking, being, and dressing. I didn’t see them in the same way before and now I guess I’ve become one myself. For this collection, I wanted to highlight and credit that subculture for all the inspiration it has given me.
– Jonny Johansson, Creative Director of Acne Studios
Photographer Anders Edström captures Acne Studios staff members and their dogs in the interior of a 70s brutalist building. His portraits rely heavily on the natural light coming in through the window, and its resulting interplay of light and shadow lend them a somewhat ghostly quality, which is augmented by a remarkable sense of depth. Combined with the oversized check suits his subjects wear, the images conjure a strange sense of nostalgia for a past we never knew existed. They feel both absurd and emotional yet totally mundane.
The short film features brief interviews with the team members and their dogs. They each tell us a little bit about their dog’s personality or their relationship with them. There is a sort of solemness but no sense of pretension; they tell us quietly, honestly, and joyfully about their dogs.
In addition to the thoughtful and playful way it makes a personal connection with the motif of the collection, it is brilliant in its casting choices. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele did something similar with his recent Epilogue Resort 2021 show, which featured Gucci team members as its talent. Here, Johansson takes this idea further by exploring the personalities and relationships behind these unique faces. This is also no doubt the reason for the naturalness and mysterious beauty of Endström’s portraits. By looking within rather than reaching without, Acne Studios takes on the status of its own exclusive, self-contained creative world – and they even have dogs.
Acne Studios Creative Director | Jonny Johansson Photographer/Director | Anders Edström Talent | Pontus Björkman, Edouard Schneider, Ioana Ciocan, Jasper, Pumba Location | Acne Studios Headquarters, Stockholm