Brothers Mike and Patrick Liberty are not just dressing people -- they're fighting global social problems with their Colorado-based clothing line, Akomplice. Their latest campaign is "The Children of Empada," which is helping to fund the education of children in Empada, an impoverished town in the African nation of Guinea.
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"People are really excited about us, because there isn't really a clothing line like ours that people can buy and help change the world," says Patrick Liberty of the new signature line. "We are sold in 25 countries and over 200 stores across the world right now."
Akomplice's current project is a collaboration with the Brazilian company Aesthetic in conjunction with the MOI Project, and 100 percent of the profits will go to educating kids in Empada. Akomplice has produced T-shirts featuring photographs of the town shot by Brazilian photographer Philippe Pessoa. "By purchasing these tees, you are directly supporting the place and people you see in these pictures," says Liberty. "That's almost unheard of, a company donating 100 percent of the profits, but our company does well enough that we can just chalk it up as part of the marketing budget."
This is not Akomplice's first cause. The brothers also helped to build a water tower in Mawali, West Africa, in conjunction with the Chance Infinite Project. The water tower provides over 300 gallons of fresh water daily to the small village, empowering the sixty residents to farm and garden -- and also helping prevent water-borne diseases.
This new model for creating social change falls in line with Akomplice's motto: "Evolution through innovation."
And in the next week or so, Akomplice will announce a collaboration with Ty Lawson called "Savage Mindstate." Although Patrick Liberty won't reveal many details now, he says the line will include a five-panel hat and hoodie, and that the photos and products are ready. "It's really a thing Ty and his friends live by," he explains. "People would always tell him he couldn't make the NBA, so the Savage Mindstate is to always work hard, always fight hard and go for it at whatever the cost."
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The Liberty brothers started Akomplice almost ten years ago with thirteen original designs; they've done collaborations with Wu-Tang Clan, MF Doom and Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49ers, among others. They've also been hired to design for Nike's lifestyle arm and Nike Sportswear.
And through it all, they've kept their company in Colorado. "Denver right now is at a very exciting point," says Patrick. "It's going to burst into something bigger very soon."
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"The Children of Empada" shirts will be available at Division West in Cherry Creek, BC Surf and Sport in Boulder and Family Affair on Larimer Downtown. For more information, go to the Akomplice website.