via u/techoriginal in r/techwearclothing ACRNM and Techwear: Setting the Record Straight (2017)

I am a long term techwear fan from Superfuture days (no not the supertechwear forum, think a lot older). I have noticed a lot of misinformation online about ACRNM lately and I thought it was time to set some things straight. This will be a factual article with very little opinion. I will introduce the history of ACRNM and Errolson’s work online and with other brands to make techwear what it is today.

In 1999 Errolson Hugh and Michaela Sachenbacher started the brand Acronym in Berlin Germany after Hugh did a brief stint as a designer with Burton Snowboards and outdoor clothing powerhouse Arc'Teryx to learn the cutting edge of the technical clothing industry. Hugh perfected the science of designing outerwear along with the manufacturing of waterproof and cutting edge textile technology. Drawing on Science-Fiction and technological development, Hugh sought to implement these sources of inspiration into his designs. Using technical fabrics, functional pattern making and features, and a cyberpunk aesthetic that the modern consumer could identify with was the ethos. This was paired with an uncompromising commitment in delivering the highest quality products to birth ACRNM. Right from the gates this was a brand that hit the ground running.

A small following of the brand existed on forums like Superfuture, and lookbook Instagram accounts such as Acrhive, edg.e, and Technicaldiffusion. It is inexcapable to find techwear inspiration photos that have not originated or have been taken by Acrhive. Acrhive’s account, run by Acronym aficionado Bryan Lee, originated as a platform for Acronym fans and cult followers to post their rare collections, pieces, and outfits that exemplified the ‘Cyberpunk’ and ‘Tech’ aesthetic of Errolson Hugh. Errolson utilized guerilla marketing tactics to keep a mystique around the brand with members only online SUB.NET that made the brand even more desirable to these early adopters. They were attracted to ACRNM’s superiority in terms of technical performance and its unique design language that looked straight out of the pages of Ghost in the Shell or Akira.

Enter Techwear, the fashion movement that exploded from virtually nowhere. Or did it? It is fair to say Techwear as an emerging style and subculture of fashion began in earnest somewhere in 2012 although had fledgling origins much earlier than that. This was when I was first introduced to the brand Acronym and style by fellow SuperFuture users. This upward trend from 2007 onward seems to coincide with the creation of many smaller splinter brands popping up like Guerrilla Group, 4Dimension, 0608, Nameless, AOKUWARE, and Riot Division. So far we have an online movement propagating ACRNM and then numerous other online-only techwear brands popping up to satisfy demand for that niche.

Here is where it starts to get interesting. ACRNM was this niche online brand that was eventually catapulted into the mainstream. This started with the Nike collaboration of the Lunarforce one and Nike AirMax Presto. ACRNM became known in the fashion and sneakerhead circles world round. Hugh eventually took up a consulting design role for Nikelab’s ACG line, reinventing the aesthetic of the brand and helped with Stone Island’s own Shadow Project. Arc’teryx themselves consulted Errolson for their Veilance urban line. Tilak, a prolific Czech outdoors brand work extensively with Errolson and even have a shell designed by him in their current line.

Why is all of this relevant? Firstly, Errolson’s work is recognised amongst industry professional and design houses around the world as top of the pack. No other designer is consulted as much as Errolson Hugh to work with other brands. Secondly, Errolson has been able to mastermind the aesthetics and direction of these diffusion brands such as Shadow Project, NikeLab ACG and Arc’teryx Veilance all infused with his own DNA to work in the techwear fashion universe that he has envisioned. Without Errolson Hugh, none of these big techwear brands would be the same, if they would exist at all.

At this point, Acronym IS techwear, when we refer to ‘Tech’ looks or ‘Techwear’ its impossible for someone to link a picture or a design that does not have Acronym or references Hugh’s military cyberpunk aesthetic. Hugh single handedly brought the aesthetic to where it is today and either directly or indirectly has influenced every single techwear brand through his industry work and the cultivation of his fan movement online.

For instance, look at the brand Guerilla Group. While GG does not have direct input from Errolson as NikeLab ACG does, Superfuture forums member selectivebeef, the creator of Guerrilla Group, was heavily influenced by ACRNM and created garments that he and his Superfuture group could use to join Errolson’s movement. They offer some outerwear, base layers, and cargo pants. Their cargo pants typically hold their resale value and are the first to sell out in their webstore, while their outerwear may sit for months. Their outerwear seems to follow a different design language suggesting a sort of Sino-Futurism, an aesthetic differentiated from other brands. Whereas their cargo pants have the military and cyberpunk aesthetic. These sell out because they fit within the design language of Errolson Hugh, whereas their bombers and noragis do not.

The same goes for NikeLab ACG, being a diffusion brand for Acronym with loud ACG branding in block letters, another Errolson aesthetic reference. The popularity of these brands and designs is not because of “Techwear”, but because they emulate or easily fit into the aesthetic presented by ACRNM. Other “Techwear” brands like Outlier, Y-3, and Onis are often neglected even though they are more affordable and it is due to their inability to mesh seamlessly with Acronym. They do not have the required design dNA nor do they reference the vision set by Errolson Hugh. Without Hugh’s vision, the clothing cannot carry itself or fit in with the ever-growing techwear movement.

This is why ACRNM is so well-regarded by techwear fans, why it sells for so much and sells out so very quickly. Hugh has stated many times that his vision is uncompromising. He wants to bring the best quality with the best technical fabrics offering exclusive features and up to date functionality. Trademarked fabrics such as Schoeller and Gore-Tex cost a lot of money to produce and manufacture, throw in all of the little details, variations, and limited runs the price will be driven up due to those resources alone. Along with this, Acronym is the defining brand of Techwear, they set the pace for the trend, and all others follow suit. Even entry level techwear fans just testing the waters with the style are getting a taste of the ACRNM flavour even by purchasing cheaper, less functional brands. How many ACG shells are based off of past ACR shells? I can name a few.

The point is, when we talk about Techwear, we need to recognize that we are talking about Acronym. If there is no Acronym, there is no techwear.

  • acrnm_and_techwear.txt
  • Last modified: 2021-02-27 22:25
  • by nik