Italian brands have a thing for ACRONYM. Back in June 2013, Gucci, then under the creative direction of Frida Giannini, showed an awfully similar looking jacket, one that was a dead ringer the GT-J5A jacket that Errolson Hugh introduced for Fall 2007 and revived beginning in Fall 2010. Now, Berlin-based tech apparel brand, ACRONYM, is proving a point of “inspiration” for another Italian giant: Versace and you could argue, Dolce & Gabbana, as well.
This time around, instead of pulling a Gucci and focusing on ACRONYM’s the 3-Layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell with Gore Micro Grid Backer Technology jacket (yes, that is the level that ACRONYM is on), Versace has looked to the footwear that Hugh put forth in furtherance of an ongoing partnership with Nike: The ACRONYM x Nike Lunar Force 1, which was first released in 2015 by the Oregon-based sportswear giant to the usual cult chaos that tends to erupt when ACRONYM is involved.
In case you are not familiar with ACRONYM, the brand was founded in 1994 by Michaela Sachenbacher and Errolson Hugh as an independent design agency with a focus on the unification of style and technology in apparel. While the brand remained largely under the radar for quite some time, it is far from unknown, having launched its house label in 2002, and operating from Munich, Berlin, New York, Tokyo, and Sumperk/Czech Republic, as well as collaborating with Italian sportswear design brand Stone Island and W. L. Gore & Associates (the company that created Gore-Tex), among others.
A testament to ACRONYM's success: Its products never go on sale.
As for the ACRONYM x Nike sneaker at issue, which GQ described as being released “at a time when excessive zippers and the futuristic “health goth” look were everywhere—a trend that rose in part thanks to Hugh and ACRONYM,” the two most striking elements are, of course, the strategically placed zipper than runs from the tongue-area of the shoe to the toe, and bright orange dip-dye effect that covers the heel counter and tab and depending on the side of the shoe, a good portion of the body.
Reflecting on the sneaker, himself, Hugh says, "At some point an early image leaked, people went crazy and it felt like it was the most hated shoe of all time."
"Loved by some, loathed by just as many," per Highsnobiety, "the shoe was a totemic example of everything Hugh stands for when it comes to working philosophy: practical ergonomics, disruptive design and a build quality that was second-to-none."
Naturally, though, as GQ so aptly put it, “the zippered-up sneaker was an instant hit, and goes for about $700 on the aftermarket today.” It appears that it was so much of a hit that two+ years later, Versace wants in. This past spring the Italian brand sent models down the runway for its Spring/Summer 2018 menswear show wearing some striking sneakers of its own making. The footwear also appears in the very recently released campaign for the collection – zipper and colored-heel and all.
Dolce & Gabbana also recently released a heel portion dip-dyed sneaker in a markedly similar orange/red hue - yet another instance of evidence of the appeal of ACRONYM amongst the high fashion folks.
Seemingly unfazed by the inspiration (yes, I would firmly argue that these are instances of “inspiration,” as opposed to legally-actionable “imitation”), Hugh’s response to the similar-element-bearing footwear? “LOL."