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How Errolson Hugh Remapped The World Of Techwear

Jo KwokYee Lee
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errolson hugh

We delve into how Acronym’s frontman, Errolson Hugh, gave techwear a new meaning and became a global design kingpin.

Performance apparel used to roam in the realm of sports and outdoor trainings only. However, Canadian utilitarian wear veteran Errolson Hugh has given it an evolutionary transformation, who fused the practicality of the apparel with the style and functionality of streetwear into one – Techwear.

Hugh, the founder and chief designer of Berlin-based Acronym, is well-known for designing highly functional and urban-centric wearables. It all started when Hugh and his then-girlfriend, Michaela Sachenbacher, now co-founder of the brand, were frustrated by how people found it impossible to integrate the technology of active sportswear and military apparel into everyday clothing. Two design enthusiasts took inspirations from working with a German snowboard company, where body protection was the key. Their defiance eventually became a blessing in fashion.

Errolson Hugh

Hugh recalled his childhood training in karate, which has nurtured him into a self-reliant person, and perhaps that was how the duo managed to operate the entirety of Acronym by the two masterminds up until 2009. Although the team gradually grew, the brand stayed low-key with minimal to none PR, marketing and events because the entrepreneurs believed that opting out of the system gave individuality and uniqueness to their designs, which is what the Berlin brand has always been about.

It’s not until recent years that Acronym has grown to wider recognition. It could be a result of minimalistic designs became more favourable in the fashion industry and consumers considered more about the practicality of their day-to-day wear. At the same time, Hugh began the Shadow Project collaboration with Stone Island and later put the relaunch of NikeLab ACG (All Conditions Gear) into motion, all dedicated to assure consumers that wearing performance apparel doesn’t mean to compromise their style.

NikeLab AF1 Downtown x Acronym

Pioneering in techwear, not only has Hugh opened up more options in the contemporary fashion scene, but he’s also expanded the market of the likes of Stone Island and ACG, to a new demographic and ‘techie’ consumer.

In terms of designs, Acronym is almost ninja-like – monochromatic aesthetic that features darker hues, unorthodox materials that delivers waterproof, breathable, stretchable properties for protection. These features could be seen throughout all their collections and Hugh has definitely brought these elements out of Acronym. For instance, in Shadow Project, the creative has demonstrated his genius in playing with metallic colours to give the collection a futuristic vibe, while these garments certainly will not fail to defend you body against any unpleasant weather or conditions. Talking about bringing the best of both worlds? Yes Hugh did.

stone island shadow project aw17 video

What was designed for backcountry biking or whatnot is now reinterpreted as an icon of streetwear. More brands started seeing the potential and decided to tap into the market, such as the 5 techwear brands that should be on your radar we introduced earlier. Many of their collections have adopted wind-shielding and water-repellent fabrics. Nonetheless, Acronym is still the prototype of techwear. The truly inimitable quality with any of Hugh’s designs is the painstaking effort he devoted to the choice of fabrics, the overall constructions and the excellent technology behind every piece. The attention that goes into every detail has made Hugh the kingpin of the whole techwear innovation.

errolson hugh

With new techwear brands popping up every day, it’s unknown as of where this path will lead to. Hugh’s latest Holiday Collection with ACG showed uses of a sharper red colour, fancier stripe patterns and even more complex structures, which are quite distinct from his previous concepts. Could this be the future direction that techwear is heading? Or could it be something less favourable in the industry? We at RC are surely keeping tabs on this in the coming year.

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Jo KwokYee Lee
Jo KwokYee Lee

Jo is a Hong Kong-native and a graduate in MA International Journalism at Cardiff University. She is a big sneakerhead who always keeps an eye on new trainer drops. Previously interned at other streetwear magazines, she is excited to talk about modern street fashion, music and youth culture on RC. Jo's favourite brands at the moment are Vans, Stüssy, Nike and Anti Social Social Club.

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