July 18, 2011
Hey Patrick & Mike… how ya boys doin’?
I am doing great. Mike is in Taiwan right now, so he won’t be answering any questions. Plus he doesn’t really do the interviews.
Almost a decade old, how do you think the brand has transformed through the years?
Wow, it has transformed so much. One of our new slogans is evolution through experimentation, and that has held very true. Going from just tees and basic hoodies to a full cut and sew brand. Going from selling at 1 store to 200 doors worldwide. Just getting better at what we do. When we started we didn’t come from industry jobs. We didn’t go to any design school or classes. In college I took a 3-day business class–that was the extent of my business classroom experience. Neither of us graduated from college, but we have designed multiple times for Nike and done collaborations with the likes of Fred Segal, Raekwon, Warner Brothers, and many more iconic people and companies. So a lot has changed.
Even with this much transformation, some things just never change. What are some core values that have stuck with the brand since day 1?
We have always kept the mentality of doing revolutionary things. We try to offer products that are innovative, and that is a large reason why Akomplice is successful. I can’t tell you how many times it’s been like, “I have never seen this done before—let’s do it.” That’s how our hyperlight program came about. Also, our designs have often been concept oriented. Our product draws inspiration from all parts of the spectrum–including philosophy, politics, and comedy. Lots of our work has meaning behind it, whatever the case may be.
In the 7 years you would’ve created some amazing memories. What are some that stand out the most?
Rolling around in Spain with super famous basketball player Carmelo Anthony. Partying at Cannes film festival in a Yacht with Adrien Brody. Doing Qi Gong in the Philippines while corresponding with DOOM’s team on the collab. Getting interviewed for a full page article by XXL, a magazine I grew up reading. Mike chopping it up with Raekwon over breakfast at the Chef’s house. Kids getting kicked out of school for refusing to take off their Liberty shirt. The Jordan brand sending us like 13 pairs of shoes at once, and hearing Michael Jordan say we are the type of people he wants to support.
Your brand just keeps getting stronger and stronger each year, what is the key to your consistent growth?
Everyone measures success in different ways, how do you measure success?
Doing something I am proud of. Self evolution, employees becoming stronger, seeing positive effects ripple from the brand. Of course economics as well, but don’t let the money control you. Moneys like a hot girl, it controls dudes to do stupid shit because they are pussy whipped—but it can be fun if you fuck it right.
How has working for other companies prior to starting your own label benefited Akomplice?
We didn’t really work for any companies. Mike worked at a local food coop. I did landscaping, sold pears and apples, and was a breakfast/lunch cook in Alaska for 10 days. All those things helped in different ways. We started so young at 18 and 20 years old that this really has been how we learned most things. When you’re thrown in the water you learn how to swim fast, because if you don’t start paddling you’ll most likely sink. Also, Mike is a prodigy when it comes to designing. We used 8 of his first 10 designs ever for our first season.
What are the dynamics like between both of you when working on a collection? Care to break down your roles and what you do on the daily?
Think Cohan brothers–except not so nerdy, ha. Mike is the creative director, but I have a say in everything. Nothing goes if we don’t both agree. I am like the part of the brain that sends messages to the body so it works in unison.
We’ve been amazed at all the collabs that you’ve done thus far, and in particular the Doom box. Care to explain how the whole project came about from start to finish?
That is a secret…
Clearly hiphop is your choice of music (so is ours), how has that influenced your decision making in the projects you do and the releases you put out?
Many ways, depending on the project. We do love hiphop, but we’re heavily influenced by other types of music as well. Swagg.
I love asking this question to everyone… whats the most humbling moment in you’re a career with Akomplice?
Too many haha.
Enough about the brand, lets talk about the people behind it for a moment. Martial arts seem be play a big part in your lives. What inspired you to take up Qi Gong? And what are your motivations to continue this practice?
Well first off I have been doing Qi Gong since I was 15. This past year I started a doing Sheng Zhen Qi Gong. Sheng Zhen has been one of the most amazing things I have ever done. I initially I started for the health benefits, but now I practice for many more reasons then just health. It is good for mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and it is even affecting my business positively. Just the over all well-being. When you connect into the flow it’s like a stream connecting into a river or ocean, it’s beautiful.
Besides martial arts, what else are you passionate about?
The environment, women, the human experience.
If given a chance, would you work in a different field?
I will, and I feel like I have been already. Let me explain. What ever we venture into we ties in with Akomplice. Akomplice represents Mike and I’s different lifestyles–that’s what’s so cool about the brand. It’s diverse but yet still cohesive. As we have grown and change so does the brand. But back to the question at hand–we have entered the music industry, film industry, sports industry, politics, environmental, social, all through Akomplice.
Everyone has a life motto, what’s yours?
It’s easy to realize how beautiful life is when it has passed you by, but hard to realize when it’s happening. “Enjoy the moment, enjoy your life”. That second one is Master Li.
On a lighter topic… If you were a 70’s porn star, what would you alias be?
DLD. Derived from the spider, Daddy Long Legs. I know your thinking what? You do the math.
What’s your favorite Youtube video?
Currently there is this video of a kid opening the DOOM box and the true excitement was captured on tape. Very rewarding feeling.
We’re currently bumpin’ some Jazzy Jeff, Wiz and Doom at the Fat Kids HQ, what’s on heavy rotation at the AK HQ?
Hmm, that’s a hard one, because we have two offices and not sure what the other peeps have been listening to. Over here it’s Sam Cook, Pachelbel Canon, DOOM, J Rawls, Ayatollah, Jay, and a bit of Beatles. Nature Sounds just sent me a box so I’ve been digesting that. Also a girl who was interning at Interscope just gave me some cds as well, so I have been digesting them as well.
To wrap things up, have you got anyone that you would like to thank for having supported you throughout your journey with Akomplice?
Everybody that has helped and continues to help. We have such a strong close team. I am proud to be on this journey with them. Special shouts to My Moms, BOB, Jen Chinn, Murder Matt, BP photography, JQ, Sofi, Camerono, brother who jus Thissongissick.com, Diego Cash, Young De, Catch Lungs, Mystic, Kim and Familia Agency. How about that. Bbbbbbbdpp. Oh yeah and a Happy Birthday to my little brother Shawn who I am guessing will do big things.
words by Benny Teh