Carbondale, Colorado, is a small town located in the heart of the central Rocky Mountains. With a population of just 6,106, it’s the last place one would expect ultrahot streetwear brand Akomplice (akomplice-clothing.com) to have emerged from. That’s akin to a rapper blowing up out of North Dakota. Started by brothers Patrick, 26, and Mike McCarney, 24, in 2004, the brand has defied the odds and built a cultlike following. Several companies, for instance, have bitten their Liberty World Takeover tee. Not ones to rely on past successes, though, the stylized siblings added down outerwear and scarves to the line two years ago and have a few design collaborations planned with companies like New Era. When it’s all said and done, Patrick and Mike should still be standing on the mountaintop.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you guys coming from Colorado?
Patrick: Not being able to run down the street and talk to [reps for] True, Union, Fred Segal or any of the stores we’re selling at. We’re in the middle of nowhere. To get to an airport to fly somewhere we usually have to drive three and a half hours.
Are y’all surprised by how quickly Akomplice became a success?
Mike: It definitely came superfast, but we had to try really hard to get where we’re at. It came from blood, sweat and tears. I always felt like every season I design I have to make it twice as good as my favorite brand, because if I don’t, who’s gonna pick it up?
What was the inspiration behind your more basic fall line?
Mike: You want your clothes to be able to fit a couple different lives. For example, the new Windrunner jacket, when you wear the outside, you don’t really stand out, but if you flip it reverse, you have the radial fade, with the kids playing basketball in the back. It’s like matching two moods, and the older we get, the more we want to have that clean and aggressive side.
Your designs are inspired by classic hip-hop, eye candy, sports and politics. How do you choose which themes make it?
Mike: Whatever we’re into at that point is what we’re gonna do, so if you look at season one, pretty much every tee was inspired by politics and philosophy. Then the next season it was like, That’s real nice, but I want a couple tees in the line I can go to the club in.
Patrick: Not only is it a tribute to an athlete or a girl, but it often tells a story, like the Spud Webb shirt. This guy is like us in a sense, where everybody was like, Man, you’re never going to make it, you’re 5 feet 6 inches, you’re not going to make it to the NBA. And he wins the slam-dunk contest. That’s like two kids from Colorado making it into the hottest shops in the world in the streetwear game. —Branden J. Peters
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