Check the Label: 10-Year-Old Akomplice Clothing Continues to Set a New Standard for Streetwear
For those unfamiliar with Akomplice, co-founder Patrick Liberty, along with his brother, Mike, have this analogy: “If you think of something like a fusion restaurant, say Thai/Cuban, Akomplice is like that. We’re not only putting forth styles we love, but we’re also establishing a movement.”
The idea for Akomplice started as an innocent suggestion; when Mike suggested the two launch a clothing company, Patrick dismissed the idea, unconvinced they'd amass a following. Today, the brand has a colossal footprint, having joined forces with Asics for a Onitsuka Tiger x BAIT release, gotten together with Raekwon for a sophisticated leather belt design, and created an entire capsule collection themed around Edward Said’s classic cult novel The Monkey Wrench Gang. They’ve even compiled a three-piece t-shirt set and vinyl album with J. Dilla and Joey Bada$$, which contributed 100% of its profits to the high schools from which the rappers graduated. In Liberty’s eyes, it was not only a defining collection for the brand, but also initiated a “hip-hop match made in heaven.”
It was in the mountains of Colorado in 2004, that the idea was born to establish a clothing brand that would carry a greater message. It started with a simple graphic tee that read “Free Yourself”, which was meant to inspire independent thinking and TO preach a follow-your-dreams mentality.
To them, it’s not about scrambling to keep up with trends and concerning themselves with pleasing the mainstream eye. Rather than quantity, their focus is on quality, channeling the “Tupac method”—writing 100 songs, but only releasing the best 10. Each design goes through a merciless filtering process, where the brand’s frontrunners gather feedback from a slew of perspectives from various industries.
In that decade, the creators have watched the streetwear industry’s many ebbs and flows, and have positioned themselves within the sea of brands as more than just a conventional clothing label.
“We [as product-makers] can’t be making trash anymore. If you’re just putting stuff out to keep up with the trends, you don’t get the bigger picture. Why are you even doing it?”