Creativity is dead, long live curation

Ana Andjelic
7 min readNov 21, 2020
Floragarten 13, Acne Studios headquarters photographed by Philippe Chancel

There’s no mistaking an Acne Studios store for any other. Regardless of whether you’re in London, Stockholm, New York, or Tokyo, Acne Studios stores are stages, with carefully considered lighting, layout, ambiance, furniture, art, and a cherry-picked cast of shop associates.

“Artists, architects, and furniture designers have always been part of Acne Studios’ DNA,” says Dan Thawley, Editor-in-Chief at A Magazine Curated By, a fashion publication which has worked with some of the world’s most innovative fashion designers — including Martin Margiela, Kim Jones, and Thom Browne — as guest curators. When Thawley originally pitched his idea to create a magazine titled ‘Floragatan 13 Curated by Acne Studios’ (Floragatan 13 being the address of Acne Studios’ new headquarters, situated in the former Embassy of the Czech Republic) to Acne Studios in 2019, Thawley was inspired by the strong physical presence that Acne Studios always had, as well as the opportunity for a deep editorial dive into the brand’s beliefs, ethos and curated aesthetics.

The partnership is simply one example of a shift towards curation as a preferential strategy for modern brands to differentiate themselves, gain relevance, build equity and ensure longevity. With a good reason: the aesthetic world and the narrative that curation creates is much harder to replicate than a brand’s visual handwriting and a tone of voice. For Acne Studios, a curatorial point of view lives as a store experience; a carefully chosen influencers and friends of the brand and what architects and interior designers the brand collaborates with. It also lives as a company headquarters, as the mood it creates in its stores, as a piece of furniture, or now as an issue of a magazine. The variations are endless, and that’s precisely the point.

The Democratization of Curation

Modern curation is a far cry from the art curators of lore, who were revered and feared, and who could make or break an artist. Yayoi Kusama famously threw herself out of the window when she couldn’t make it in the New York art scene, which in the ’70s was stiflingly white and male.

More recently, curators went from the capital “C” to the lowercase one. Democratization of curation changed the role and value of curators in form, but not in cultural…

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Ana Andjelic

Brand Executive. Author of “The Business of Aspiration.” Doctor of Sociology. Writer of “Sociology of Business.” Forbes most influential CMO.