Why this designer put his 11-year-old son in a campaign

Acne Studios’ Jonny Johansson (and his son Frasse) open up about the brand’s playful AW15 womenswear ads

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Acne Studios AW15 Womenswear campaign
Acne Studios AW15 Womenswear campaign

Sure, Karl Lagerfeld has godson Hudson – already a bonafide runway veteran at the ripe age of seven – but it’s not often that fashion designers look to their own families for potential campaign stars. That’s exactly what Acne Studios founder and designer Jonny Johansson did for his latest campaign though, enlisting the talents of his 11-year-old son Frasse to feature in the shots. What’s more – he’s wearing womenswear: specifically the brand’s Viviane Sassen inspired AW15 collection.

Why the decision to feature Frasse? It’s all about the next gen of fashion fans and their attitude towards style. “I’ve seen this new generation’s attitude to fashion where the cut, the shape and the character of the garment is the crucial thing, rather then seeking approval from society or to follow set norms,” explains Johansson. “I immediately pictured Frasse, since he embodies this new breed to me. I asked him and I’m happy that he wanted to be a part of the campaign.” Indeed, as the youngster put it, “It is cool to be so young and get the opportunity to do such an awesome thing. (But) it was a bit annoying that everyone wanted to fix my hair and stuff.”

“I wanted to portray that feeling of first experiences with fashion, like a kid is experimenting with their look for the first time” – Jonny Johansson

After a menswear collection that saw boys don sweatshirts emblazoned with words including ‘radical feminist’, Acne’s gender agenda should come as no surprise – but it’s not stopping there. “This campaign is not at all about gender, but presenting this new breed that I think Frasse represents,” says Johansson. I wanted to portray that feeling of first experiences with fashion, like a kid is experimenting with their look for the first time, without any preconception. Crucially, the look is fierce but also natural. This person is not looking for approval, there’s no nerves or political statement.”

Despite his youth, the football-loving Frasse has already got his head screwed on when it comes to androgynous dressing. “It doesn’t matter to me if it is ‘girl’ clothes or ‘boy’ clothes, I don’t really feel that there is a difference. It was totally fine. No problem,” he says of the shoot. There was only one thing he wasn't so keen on... “Heels are hard to walk in though. (They) hurt your feet.”

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