Social Encore: AKAMIND hits Hawaii
BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser
When I first saw the designs of lifestyle brand AKAMIND, what resonated with me was its California flair with Hawaii soul. After a year in the works, the brand officially launches this weekend with a concert featuring Bay Area and Hawaii hip-hop artists at Nextdoor on Saturday.
AKAMIND LAUNCH PARTY
» Where: Nextdoor, 43 N. Hotel St.
The masterminds behind the brand are creative director Russell Garcia and business/marketing director Leo Anthony Corpuz. The pair grew up in Ewa Beach and attended Damien Memorial High School, but moved to San Francisco to pursue degrees in business and broaden their minds by experiencing a new way of life.
Fashion has always been something they both paid close attention to; the two would customize their own garments and created designs just for themselves. As they started to expand their network, Garcia started to experiment with illustrating.
After years of being a customer and following street fashion religiously, Garcia said it was only natural for the two of them to create a business around urban fashion. Last summer, Garcia and Corpuz put their heads together and created a business plan for AKAMIND, releasing a Manny Pacquio shirt to not only pay tribute to a great boxer, but to put their style to the test.
The shirt sold out within weeks and gave the two a creative outlet to express their individuality.
When thinking of a name, they thought of things that would not only remind them of home but create a foundation of what their lifestyle brand stood for. AKAMIND stems from the word akamai, which in Hawaiian means brilliant or clever.
“We knew before starting a lifestyle brand we needed a notable name that would entice our followers to learn more about us,” said Garcia. “AKAMIND just rolled off the tongue one day and we rocked with it.”
Both men have worked for some the nation’s largest tech companies in Silicon Valley while creating the brand. Garcia said AKAMIND commemorates the go-getter in everyone, with the understanding that everyone hustles in their own way.
“To succeed, only the wiser, (more clever) hustler will achieve their goal and reach that level of success,” said Garcia. “We hope people vibe with our taste in fashion and music, and discover the hustler within themselves with AKAMIND.”
The two created a design that pays tribute to fellow hustlers, mentors and entrepreneurs with their Under the Influence shirt. Names on the shirt include Flip The Bird founder Tassho Pearce, Blackscale founder Alfred De Tagle (aka Mega), Crooks and Castles founder Dennis Calvero and late LRG Clothing partner Johnas Bevacqua.
The simple yet straight to the point line includes designs inspired by hip-hop culture. Garcia believes someone’s taste in music is a big reflection of their style. He said his love for the pager-heavy era of the 1990s is a vital influence when trying to reintroduce old school ideas with the means for people to project their individual interpretations.
Music helps create anthems and live performances by Hawaii’s own Prie and Creed Chameleon along with Bay Area artists Mike-Dash-E and Rey Resurreccion will help reflect the brand’s sound at Saturday’s launch event. You’ll also be able to snag their HonoFriscoVegas skyline design, which will be released exclusively at the show.
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.