NEW YORK — Acne Studios AB is strengthening its focus in the North American market.

This story first appeared in the May 25, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The Stockholm denim-based company formed a venture with the New York and Montreal distributor and showroom Want Agency Inc. to create Acne USA. The new entity will focus on developing wholesale, retail and e-tail for the brand in North America. As part of the renewed emphasis on the U.S. market, Acne will unveil its women’s resort line with a show in New York on June 9. Want Agency previously served as the distributor for the line here.

“We decided to form a mutual company where we employ people just focusing on Acne,” Mikael Schiller, executive chairman of Acne Studios, said. “This new company will work with three things: servicing high-end specialty stores, opening our own retail stores starting with New York City and making sure we have a well-functioning e-tail business in North America.”

Acne is distributed to just under 100 doors in the U.S., including Opening Ceremony and Barneys New York. Schiller said the company aims to work deeper with existing retail accounts, helping them with merchandising and educating sales staff on the brand and its product.

“The Want Agency, with Byron [Peart, its president], has a lot of local expertise, which is very important,” Schiller said. “Our business is so much about product, but it’s also about the supply chain, getting the product into stores early in the season, making sure the product is selling well and giving stores an ability to reorder.”

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