Bryan Lee (@originalprogram)
Great brands are able to build more than just a following , they inspire whole communities of supporters. Acronym is one brand that has made a mark not just within the techwear sphere but on a dedicated community of collectors and enthusiasts around the world. While it’s price point and exclusivity keep Acronym from really being on the radar in mainstream men’s fashion, fans of the brand can find imagery of gear, fits and even choose to trade, buy and sell the brand through forums , marketplaces like grailed or on private social media groups.
One outlet that has taken off in terms of showcasing the brand through the eyes and lenses of it’s biggest fans is the Acronymjutsu Instagram account. The instagram account curates images from users around the world that use or wear Acronym. The account serves as both a home base for fans of the brand to keep in touch and communicate but also as a source of inspiration for those looking to buy or style the label in their own way. I spoke with Bryan Lee (@originalprogram) who started the Acronymjutsu account on how it came to be and his long history as a collector of all things Acronym.
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Acronymjutsu Instagram account
Please introduce yourself and tell us how the Acronymjtusu Instagram came about?
My name is Bryan Lee, and I’ve been a collector of sneakers/clothing for the past 16 years or so. Acronym is the one brand that has surpassed the test of time in my book as far as collecting goes. I have probably owned, tested and sold off more versions of pieces than I currently own at the moment. I’ve come to learn to keep certain pieces that I reach for and wear on a daily basis rather than having an entire archive unworn. I also love specific designs for their forward thinking prowess ( favoring form over function). It has become a personal obsession.
The Instagram account was started just about two months ago. It came about, after being a silent follower on superfuture, which led to following people on instagram, then finally leading to a private group of Acronym collectors on WhatsApp. There, we discuss all things Acronym and then some. The group is most likely not known to the public or anything.
From there, I’ve asked the question, “Why haven’t we seen a community based around what fans are currently wearing, as well as exploring what they mix it in with in their wardrobe of other brands?” I’ve seen it on individuals accounts. But wanted to see everything the Acronym studio has had their hands in either design wise, or consulting, such as Stone Island Shadow Project, Disaeran, Herno Laminar, Nikelab ACG, Nikelab x Acronym and more. My only requirement for a posting is wearing at least one piece within the fit to see how people mix it into their wardrobes, whether it be daily, or fictional.
Acronym is one of these brands that really has a worldwide community of supporters and enthusiasts. How did you start getting involved with this community and what experiences has this lead to?
Well, it all started on Superfuture, which led to Errolson starting an IG account, and finding followers/enthusiasts. But most of all I’d say the first 8 years of collecting, I was in the dark. Collecting and appreciating the brand in silence. Where few people knew about it even fewer could afford it and actually discuss it. Superfuture seemed to be the only place in existence to talk about it. I didn’t even know about Superfuture at the time. But since I joined, it became clear that I had found some serious enthusiasts.
Some would say that I’m one of the craziest collectors and some have even called me “The Walking Grail” in recent trends. Ever since the IG account has started, it’s paved way to meeting people direct through personal messaging. And has lead to new found friendships in the city in the Bay Area, where I currently live. It’s a small, small world we live in finding and finally meeting IG followers that I’ve followed for years. I have now finally met them in person or are in communication with them. It’s been very exciting.
Where did your interest in tech wear and Acronym specifically come from. Speak a bit about how you got interested in Acronym and what your first piece was?
I believe I stumbled upon Acronym while collecting a lot of other streetwear brands during the time of early 2000. I was heavily into BAPE, Supreme, BBC, and sneakers, sneakers, sneakers. I literally owned about 350 pairs of shoes. Had doubles, sometimes triple of some. One to wear, the others to sell. I sold most of them just to buy what I really wanted, which was clothing, and was able to afford a few Acronym pieces. Back then, I heard and read about it through Beinghunted, which was in association with The-Glade before it became Firmament in Berlin. I believe my first purchases were ACR J2 Nanosphere Wool Grey Jacket, And an EJ3 Jacket. I’ve sold the grey one. But still currently own the EJ3. It has aged and patina’d into my own M65 style jacket which I still wear on occasion.
How has the response to the instagram account been? Where do you want to take it next?
The response of the new account has been amazing. There hasn’t really been any other place other than forums like superfuture, and random posts of people posting their own fits through IG. Now there’s a community that can post to one account to see how people are mixing it up, or going head to toe in Acronym. It’s been amazing to finally meet the people I’ve followed for so many years and being able to observe and see what outfits they come up with.
I believe in the simple fits, to the tech wear fits, to fantastical ones where people are faceless. Leading into character development, I’ve been wanting to do a visual effects heavy driven video using the clothing and creating substance to a story-driven, action packed short film. This is just a side project, but hopefully I will get to meet the Acronym team sometime this year, if at all. One only hopes and dreams to talk with the whole team in a closed environment. As for the account itself, I just hope more and more people post their fits direct through us. That way the community can see and react to it. Most likely just shooting more interesting imagery, blurring the lines of reality and fantastical.
What are your Acronym grails or things you’d love to see brought back?
Wow, this is tough one. I currently own quite a bit and am actually selling a few rare gems at the moment. I would have to say I’ve owned most of the ones I’ve wanted. The current grails I currently own have to be J45M-BW, L-J11 and recently just got the J16-GT. A Birthday wish grail trade that literally just happened a few weeks ago. If there was anything I’d love to get now, or a possible iteration of is the DS-J12TS, or a possible Leather Rider Biker Jacket, but done up in full grain Leather, or who knows what material the Acronym studio could find that is next level that could suit that. Anything with TS Webbing would really make me excited. I’ve really been wearing the recent P23 Pants like crazy. Super comfy, aggressive looking, and completely utilitarian with modular pockets attached. I would also have to say that anything duo tone jacket similar to a J36-GT would be welcome. But who knows what the Acronym studio will come up with next. It always blows my mind what they release.
All photos styled by Bryan Lee and shot by Guns Tumursukh.