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Acne Studios to Merge Womenswear Collections and Move to Couture Schedule

The Stockholm-based brand has restructured its ready-to-wear business and is set to present off-schedule at the couture shows in Paris.
Acne Studios Spring/Summer 2017 | Source: InDigital
By
  • Osman Ahmed

PARIS, France — BoF can exclusively reveal that Acne Studios is to consolidate its women's pre-collections and ready-to-wear collections. The Swedish brand will also shift the timing of its women's fashion show to coincide with Paris haute couture Fashion Week.

“First and foremost, it’s about focus, and creating even stronger designs and collections,” explained Mattias Magnusson, the company’s chief executive officer. “There’s so much talk within the industry about how the pace is too fast and how there are too many collections being produced, sometimes it is overlooked that every fashion house has the opportunity to choose their own pace."

"We know that creating great design and product requires a lot of time, research and development," added Magnusson. "We want to make sure we allow ourselves that time rather than rushing from one collection to another all the time." For Jonny Johansson, creative director and co-founder, it is a welcome decision. "It is a practical solution that we believe is the best for the company on many levels," said Johansson. "For me, I will work more closely for a longer period on each collection, giving [me more] time to also create side tracks [and have] more creative freedom, I guess."

Of course, couture week is quickly becoming a popular choice for ready-to-wear designers aiming to cut through the clutter and align their main lines with the lucrative sales period for pre-collections, when buyers spend about 80 percent of their budgets. Other ready-to-wear brands that have embraced the advantages of the couture calendar include Vetements, Rodarte, Proenza Schouler and Dundas

Magnusson also cites the “markdown epidemic” — driven, in part, by the short life cycle of product on the shop floor before it is discounted on sale — as a motive for reconfiguring the timing of the show. He added that currently the US is where this happens most, but because of online “transparency” it is having a domino effect on other markets. “You pour your heart and soul into a collection and by the time it gets delivered to the shop floor, worst case you get six weeks before they go on sale,” said Magnusson. “If that continues, people will no longer want to pay full price.”

The newly combined womenswear collection will be bigger, “more comprehensive” and delivered in drops throughout the year, starting with Fall/Winter in June and Spring/Summer in December. “In this a new set up, we plan to deliver product in a more continuous way and when it is relevant to the customer,” continued Magnusson. “We expect to create more excitement in store and to create better conditions for our wholesale partners in doing this.” The menswear collection will continue to be shown at the Men’s Fashion Week in Paris.

Last year, the Stockholm-based brand radically reshaped its denim offering — which forms about 15 per cent of the business — replacing the entire range of existing denim products with new permanent styles and launching a new seasonal denim collection, under the banner of Acne Studios Blå Konst. Today, the label, which remains privately owned, has 53 retail stores in 13 countries and 600 wholesale accounts globally. Turnover was just below €200 million ($215 million) in the company's last fiscal year.

Click here to read BoF's guide to the changing fashion calendar, which tracks new operating models and approaches, brand by brand.

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