Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Morning Playlist: Mike McCarney

Although Mike has been globe trotting the past couple weeks he was gracious enough to make time to contribute his two cents worth for this weeks Monday Morning Playlist.

Akomplice clothing emerged in 2004 in Carbondale, Colorado. At the young ages of 18 and 20, Patrick and Mike McCarney meshed their love for music and design into what is now a head to toe collection that features denim, graphic tees, fitteds, and outwear. Mike, at age 17, moved to New York and interned with record label One Music as well as a clothing company called Demographx. During his time at Demographx Mike worked alongside Eric Marino (now a partner of Rocksmith/Kilo) harvesting his passion for fashion. Returning home he partnered up with his brother, Patrick, as founded Akomplice. The two landed their first account, TRUE SF, shortly after. I hit Mike with a few questions to shed a little light on the day to day operations and future plans as the duo are soon to surpass the five year hump.

What's a normal day in the life a day at Akomplice?

It changes everyday, and that is one of the best things about Akomplice. One week I could be in Vegas at a trade show selling our products to retailers. Then the next week I could be putting together a release party for Akomplice with one of my favorite artists. Most jobs these days you’re a sprocket or a cog, and you have the same function in the company day in and day out. Thank god I got something that changes up so much.

What's the concept behind the name Akomplice?

This is a funny story. I thought up the name accomplish. My partner thought I said Accomplice and was like "that's hot but we will spell it with a K instead of two C's", we then started thinking about the term, we researched it’s meaning worldwide and found that in many countries Accomplice means a friend or partner to an act, this represented what we wanted to create, a partnership with the world, every person who rocks AK is an Akomplice to the movement.

How would you describe your own sense of style?

It continues to change. Currently I tend to be clean and calm with something that stands out, maybe on my feet. I am mixing contemporary with streetwear for a lack of a better word.

How do you and Patrick divide duties?

I am more hands on with design and Patrick is more hands on with the retailers and the musicians we work with.

At what point in your life did you decide to take the route of establishing a clothing line?

I said, "I wanna actually make clothing that has a meaning". Patrick told me "we can't deviate from making our music, and if we are to make it we gotta stay focused, plus you don't know how to work any design programs". I said, "Naw, I am just going to do both". Then boom. Season 1. Which were honestly my first designs ever. I made 10 designs and we used 7 of them.

Do you remember the first article of clothing you created?

Yes we got in the shirt "Death for Peace?” The printers we used for that were shifty quality and it was before we made the blob in the background look like the USA (see pic attached). We were still hyped, but we knew there was a lot that needed improvement.

Your clothing line has featured in prestigious magazines and worn by several celebrities-that's a huge accomplishment. Are you surprised with the success the line has received?

Yes and no. We put in a lot of work to grow the brand gradually and made a lot of good moves. We had a lot of great luck also. One of the biggest reasons we have been successful is because people have just naturally liked our clothes. Many brands are built on hype and connections. Our brand was built by the people. And of course having artists like: The Game, Alchemist, Big Boi, Ludacris, Raekwon of Wu-Tang, Young Joc, Turtle from Entourage, Guru of Gangstarr, Immortal Technique, Talib Kweli, and Nate Robinson rocking the gear in music videos, magazines, or just on the daily, has been inspiring and super helpful.

Any plans to celebrate the 5 year hump?

We have a lot of crazy things brewing. In October our plan is to start releasing our 5-year projects. We have collaboration shoes and all sorts of ill joints.

Have you ever thought about expanding your brand (women's)?

We constantly are. This season we are releasing our first shorts, sweaters, polos and boxers. Last season we came out with our first coat, vest, flask, scarf, New Era, and rugby. We plan on just keep doing new and exciting things.

Perhaps creating a female line? We have dabbled in women's clothing which always sells great, but we just haven't had enough time to expand it and take it further. We will see what the future holds.

There are thousands of hopefuls who aspire to create their own line day. What's the best piece of advice you could give them?

Don't spend money left and right. Also if possible bring something the market doesn't already have, that will help a lot. Stay creative and always follow your passion.

Here is the Monday Morning Playlist courtesy of Mr. Mike McCarney which features an array of tracks, artists and albums. Oh and if anyone has the 10 Shades of Blue tee feel free to mail it to me haha. Enjoy.

New and Old
Simon Says
Mystic (first 5 tracks from her latest CD)
Stat Quo
Jay-z - Blueprint 2
Big L
Young De x Cassius - Gods Plan
Immortal Technique Vol.2
Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
Beatles - Everything
Otis Redding - Respect
Michael Jackson - Billy Gene
Dire Straights - Romeo and Juliet
Van Morrison

(Photos by Blake Peterson)