Akomplice Redefines Streetwear
Akomplice is a Colorado based apparel brand created by brothers Mike and Patrick Liberty at the ages of 18 and 20 back in 2004. Their line introduces a fresh take on streetwear as they lift their middle fingers to the sky and follow their own rules.
From Big Boi of Outkast to Turtle from Entourage backing up the line, the unique graphics and campaigns set AK apart from ordinary clothing brands and establish themselves as innovative and forward creators.
What were you up to before Akomplice? Was there a turning point in your life that led to the launch of AK?
Mike (brother and co-owner) and I were making music (hip hop). People really liked our music and I thought if we stayed focused on it we would have a good chance of becoming successful beat makers.
So how Akomplice started was Mike said, “I wanna make some clothes the mean something, have a concept.” I was like that’s a horrible idea you don’t know how to design or anything. Well, little did I know he would end up being a prodigy.
Out of his first 11 designs we took 8 and that was Season 1. Now we have designed for Nike multiple times, collaborated with legendary artists and sell at the hottest boutiques all over the world.
Growing up in Colorado, what are some values that have played an integral part in building Akomplice?
Being real. Caring about more than just money. Protecting the environment. Honesty.
Be honest with yourself, and don’t make up bullshit justifications. Also it’s important not to beat yourself up over mistakes and get stuck obsessing over them.
Always remember to be proud of yourself for being brave enough to go for it, because most people are too scared to risk the feeling of failure.
You are what you surround yourself with. From design, sales, marketing, and celebrity collaborations, what are some of the traits that you look for with the people you build partnerships with?
The one main thing we look for is probably is respect. It’s a must to have respect for who we are partnering.
Also partnerships always need to be a win-win for both parties. That is the key to success: always think up win-wins.
Committing to the 24/7 work lifestyle isn’t easy, who are the people that inspire you to pursue your dreams?
Martin Luther King comes to mind. Akomplice’s aims are much higher than being a streetwear company. We strive to have the best quality, sustainable garments, change the world and employee people to do the right thing.
We just started a program where we guarantee our product 100%. We want to change or provoke change in many of our current societal systems that are damaging the earth and are endangering the future of our children, and grandchildren’s children.
Shit is real right now, and a lot of people are starting to wake up, but many feel helpless because the societal infrastructures make it difficult to not be part of the destruction of the earth. But it can change.
How would you describe the core values of Akomplice’s style and what separates it from other clothing lines?
Love is our foundation. That’s why we do this. That’s why we can collaborate with Conveyor Fred Segal, DOOM, San Francisco 49er’s Vernon Davis, Snowboard Magazine, the Blue Gold Documentary and have it all be cohesive because we have love for all those elements of life.
Most brands stick to one niche because people are broken up into categories often for security blankets to feel they belong, but that is just feeding on insecurities. We aim for confident people who enjoy this life experience and like rocking fresh innovative gear.
With all the collaborations you’ve launched within the last couple seasons, who are some of the celebrities or artists that you would really love to work with?
Leonardo DiCaprio because he really cares about the world. Woody Harrelson because he is also vary social and active.
It’s clear that the brand is about a lot more than just apparel, with initiatives like the AK Mafia what are some ways that you plan to keep expanding your brand into more industries?
Building the understanding of our movement and creating more ways people can join the movement. Making formulas where peoples’ energy can be utilized to change the game.
I say that because so many people want to be involved, but you have to be so organized and give people the tools they need to realize that potential.
What do the letters VSOP mean and how does this describe the new collection?
Well in college I drank cognac pretty much exclusively, and back then on special nights my friends and I would all pitch to get the VSOP, the more expensive bottle. So when we wanted to create a higher tier for Akomplice, VSOP was it.
We own that trademark for clothing too. The letters are for booze and mean Very Special Old Perfect, or Pale, it goes both ways. For Akomplice it stands for: Very Special Original Product.
What is your biggest tip for entrepreneurs looking to establish their name in the apparel industry?
Sell on mock images before production. Or only make samples and get orders before you produce. That is step one. Also bring something that is not being done that the world wants.
5, 10, 50 years down the line when you’ve achieved everything you aspire for today, where do you see yourself?
Well right now we are working on setting up an office in Brazil. My brother has been there for the past 6 months.
Down the road I’ve got big goals. I want to do them and then show the world. Talk can be cheap, but actions speak louder.
For more of Akomplice’s fresh designs, check out their website.
Evelyn Pelczar | Elite.