Errolson Hugh – A Future Legacy
Who is Errolson Hugh?
The techwear ghost turned pioneer of revolutionary clothing fabrication is the trendsetter you need to know about, and if he’s lending his name to it you can guarantee it’s going to make waves in the fashion world. Here’s a brief history on the heir to Massimo Osti’s throne.
To sell a hard-shell jacket for over $1,000, you just have to make a hard-shell jacket that’s worth over $1,000
Kickstarting a clothing revolution in 1994, Hugh and partner Michaela Sachenbacher birthed an independent design and consulting agency dubbed ACRONYM®. Cutting their teeth as guns for hire in the technical apparel world, their work with snowboarding outfitters Burton allowing them space, time and finances to cut their teeth.
Burton was great because they were so irreverent. Snowboarding’s inherently technical. You need the protection, you need the performance for the activity, but it’s got such a punk rock spirit to it. There was never an idea that was too crazy.
Spending a lot of time in Munich providing freelance work for companies allowed the duo to generate a stubborn determination to create the foundations of their techwear revolution.
Why don’t we have this in our everyday clothes? We proposed that idea to everyone we were working with, because we obviously didn’t have any money. All of them said, “No thanks. You’re crazy.” So we figured we’d just do it ourselves.
With that, the agency made the decision to begin the plans for their first ACRONYM product, taking two years to come to fruition and eventually releasing in 2002 ACRONYM’s first collection, dubbed Kit-1 consisted of a jacket, a bag, a soundtrack, software, catalogues featuring concept art, and a few other small items that went above and beyond the usual brand roll out we’re now used to. Their first full collection, released in Fall 2003, was carried by tastemakers like Colette in Paris cementing the brand within a year of its real inception. Until 2009, Errolson and Michaela were the company’s only employees.
I’m the visible part, but Michaela is equally strong as far as aesthetics, and ACRONYM definitely wouldn’t look the same if she wasn’t co-owner
ACRONYM’s collections never have more than 15 pieces, an indication of the painstaking detail that goes into each design.
The whole point of ACRONYM when we started was, “let’s try and establish a way of doing things where we don’t have to compromise on the product.”
As much as the experience of working on a curated product for brands formulated the eventual ACRONYM we know today, the influence came from humbler beginnings.
a major influence in that was karate. It fascinated me because I could do all these movements that I couldn’t do in my regular clothes. It was the first time I understood the results of pattern-making. That triggered a lifelong quest for pants that you could kick people in the head with – another seminal thing for ACRONYM
Martial arts fosters self-reliance, and you learn to trust your own judgment. You realize, in a very real, physical way, that you can do more than you think you can. The whole mind over matter thing, mastering situations, all of that has real-world application, particularly if you’re an entrepreneur or you’re in a super competitive industry, like fashion
You know we’re not just going to give these shoes a different color right?
After collaborating with an extensive mix of clients that include Tilak, KHS Tactical, Arc’Teryx, Burton Snowboards, iDiom, Analog USA, GORE-TEX®, Bagjack, Massimo Osti, Herno Laminar, Stone Island, United Arrows Japan and Disaeran, American sports giants Nike tasked Hugh with the revitalisation of their heralded ACG line, using the mastermind’s extensive experience to live up to the ‘All Conditions Gear’ name. Alongside annual collaborations between ACRONYM and Nike, the seasonal drop of ACG allowed Nike to bolster their catalog with a proven air, bringing their retro ACG lines back to the forefront and allowing the reissue of the heralded styles with a renewed vigor and pedigree.Having worked on a multitude of different Nike’s now, 2015’s Lunar Force 1, 2016s Presto Utility, 2017’s AF1 Downtown & Lunar Force 1 anniversary release up to 2018’s recent Air Max day drop of the Vapormax moc that stands as the last collab whilst Hugh remains as creative director, his contract with Nike and ACG running out after next season.
I know a lot of people are expecting us to add zippers and buckles and bolt on some parts, but we actually put those things on to change the function of the shoe. But you can already just slip on the VaporMax, so there was no reason to do that.
With the collaboration came the crowning moment in a 20 plus year career for Hugh, a chance to put his name on the map and fund future projects for his ACRONYM brand.
Working with Nike means that you’re really working with pop culture. It’s not just a product or a collection. It’s so ingrained into so many people’s histories.
When Paul Harvey retired from his job as creative director at Stone Island, the brand approached Errolson to be a part of the resurgent team, a partnership that gave birth to Stone Island Shadow Project. A hiring of Errolson to revitalise the ACG was a crowning achievement, the appointment of the ACRONYM team to the historically revolutionary creative team at SI allowed a marriage of technical ability and future thinking fashion. Having direct, hands-on experience in the development and integration of every conceivable technical fabric being used today meant that Hugh’s experience and forward-thinking ideas could provide a renaissance for the brand with its mix of masterful longtime employees and new concepts.
At Stone Island there are people who have been building fabrics every single day for decades – people who have been fitting or cutting clothes for their entire lives. You better believe it that we pay attention when they take the time to work with us on a jacket! One of the best things about this industry is that there is always something new to learn. Or, better yet, something OLD to learn.
With the pedigree of his own brand blazing a trail in the technical work just as Massimo Osti had conquered in his early years at Stone Island, it made the decision to hire Hugh as a creative director an obvious choice for the brand. revolutionary ideas such as ACRONYM Analog MD Clone Jacket was one of TIME magazine’s ‘Coolest Inventions of 2002,’ while the ACRONYM GT-J5A jacket sparked it’s own imitators, with Gucci adopting a similar design for a catwalk show in the early part of the decade. This is the kind of attention that made Errolson’s hiring an inevitability rather than a formality.
That’s the only collection we’ve ever worked on where you get to design not only the pieces but also the fabric of those pieces in the collection. They’re so up for trying different things, difficult things, and stuff no one else would even attempt. They’re like, ‘Yeah, let’s add these three processes on top of it and see what happens.’ And you just don’t get that anywhere else.
With ten years under his belt as head of the Shadow Project department, the anticipation for an anniversary collection hit fever pitch at the turn of the year. Considering the fan fair that was generated for the 30th-anniversary collection by Stone Island, you can only expect a similar if not further heralded reaction to a 10th-anniversary collection considering Stone Islands current place as the trendsetting technical wear brand. With this anniversary drop and 21st collection, 6919 as it’s dubbed serves as an ode to the progressive Stone Island division.
Hugh and team created a new set of innovative flank and drop pockets to promote quick storage and retrieval and further similar ideas that had manifested in previous collections. Additionally, fabric research for the special range comes in the form of the Scarebeo textile which is a conspicuously reflective iridescent material inspired by the exterior of beetles, instantly recognisable as a Stone Island fabric yet somehow revolutionary and unique to this collection. The ever-popular Stealth jacket serves as the standout piece of the collection, reworked with the iridescent textile and comes complete with an array of hidden pockets and special 10-year commemorative branding. Parseq system stands core to the Shadow Project as ever, separating the garments into their own category.
The current iteration aims to refine the concepts of utility, nuance, and experimentation that has always existed at the core of this capsule.
Outside of real-life fashion consultation, the Acronym team has been drafted to aid in clothing design for games, manifesting in a marriage of techwear and sci-fi that influenced Errolson’s own approach to his designs.
The relation between science fiction and technological development, and how that affects society, is deeply related to ACRONYM’s aesthetic.
Tasked with designing a real-life functioning techwear trench coat, the Acronym team created the model to be scanned into the digital world, its design echoing principles and creations that can be traced to Errolson’s work with Stone Island.
Eidos, the company that develops Deus Ex, approached us and they flew us out to their Montreal studios and showed us the game development. They explained the character, the situation, what he was doing. We then designed a coat for him as if he was a real person. We basically did the same thing we always do, which was actually built a real-life jacket. We made two prototypes, and the second one was the one that they chose. We actually drafted the patterns like it’s a real coat.
Even Errolson’s relationship with Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima has left people guessing as to what ties the eccentric creatives might have with one another. Whether it’s business or recreation, the can’t deny the similar aesthetics to the Japanese gaming franchise and Errolson’s own designs, as well as Kojima’s own creation ‘Death Stranding’.
proposition that everyone is already a cyborg; contact lenses, a phone that’s basically external memory. Things you carry around on a day-to-day basis augment you in ways that a few decades ago were science fiction. You don’t have to graft a device onto your skeletal system to be a cyborg. Everybody is already a cybernetic organism because of how intimately electronics are implemented into our life.
Keep your eyes peeled on our blog for more news on Errolson Hugh and his work on the Shadow Project brand in anticipation of their 10th-anniversary release.