Merely a baby on the block in the booming streetwear scene, Acropolis Apparel is trying to set itself in a class of its own. With an innovative concept and unique designs, Acropolis has managed to break the mold that was once the standard among streetwear brands. Each design tells a story by combining ancient historical figures with modern culture. Although the word ‘acropolis’ is defined as the ‘city at the top,’ this brand has only just begun its journey to reach their highest point.
â€œAs Confucius said, â€˜A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.â€™ We hope to not only put Acropolis on the map, but to leave our mark in the game.â€
Format: Who are you and what is your role with Acropolis Apparel?
Michael Pino: My name is Michael. I am the owner but I am also very involved in the concept, design, and production of everything that goes on.
Format: Tell us about the brand and how it began.
Michael Pino: I created Acropolis in late â€˜07 with the concept of Ancient Remainsâ€¦ Modern Beginnings. The idea was a street inspired clothing line with an underlying theme of history, progression, and achievement that had style. Our logo is the world-recognizable pyramid, a symbol of human achievement. The pyramid also comes to a precise point at its pinnacle. The name Acropolis represents the pinnacle of society and the highest level of achievement.
Looking back I had no idea what I was getting into. I found a graphic designer through a mutual friend. I explained the concept to him and he was onboard instantly so we worked on some designs. I thought they were dope and had some screen-printed at a local printer here in LA. I gave them to my boys, hit up some stores, and started AcropolisApparel.com. Everything we did was well received which just drove me to really go after it. Itâ€™s been a steady growth ever since and Season III is unquestionably our illest drop to date.
Format: Who makes up the Acropolis team?
Michael Pino: Dennis Oâ€™Neil does the majority of the design work for Acropolis. He impresses on the regular. He comes up with things independent of my input and also does the ideas that I would like to see since I donâ€™t deal with Illustrator or Photoshop. My homie, Katie Painter hooked up the site. She has done a great job. KTâ€™s on it daily, updating, adding to it, and making sure thatâ€™s all taken care of. I also like to show upcoming and unfinished designs to those close to me and see what theyâ€™re feeling. Other than that I do the rest: everything from accounting, design, and overseeing production to sales, making connections, and keeping everything moving.
Format: On your website, itâ€™s mentioned that the word Acropolis means â€œcity at the topâ€. Do you feel that you have reached the top of your success? If not, what else do you anticipate to accomplish with your brand?
Michael Pino: Definitely not. I mean, Kobeâ€™s just now reaching his peak and itâ€™s his thirteenth season, know what Iâ€™m saying? Weâ€™re a new, independent company and I understand we have a long road ahead of us. But as Confucius once said, â€œA journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.â€ We hope to not only put Acropolis on the map, but to leave our mark in the game.
Format: Acropolis is inspired by street fashion from L.A. and Southern Cali. How have you seen streetwear change over the years?
Michael Pino: With color combos representing local teams that weâ€™ll use from time to time, or images of landmarks unique to our underlying theme. Streetwear seems to be very stagnant at the moment. There are obviously companies out there that are the exception, but for the most part I see a lot of recycled ideas going on. We take pride in our designs and use many ideas, concepts, and messages that we havenâ€™t seen elsewhere. We like to use symbolism, eye catching images, and everything from Aristotle quotes to Lil Wayne lyrics to complete the design and set it apart.
Format: Acropolisâ€™ designs fuse ancient historical ideology with contemporary society. The Julius t-shirt, for example, brings together an NBA basketball star of the 1970â€™s and a Roman military and political leader. How was this concept conceived?
Michael Pino: The idea of Ancient Remainsâ€¦ Modern Beginnings is that we take old, broken down, eroding elements and breathe new life into them by incorporating modern concepts. The results are pieces like Julius. For this we fused Julius Caesar with Julius Erving to create something new and fresh. Although they were men of entirely different civilizations, Caesar & Erving were both respected, influential, and had a flare for the dramatic.
â€œThereâ€™s a grip of streetwear companies out there that are all dope in their own right. So to separate yourself, you need to have a solid foundation to stand on. Ours is knowledge.â€
Format: You recently released a third collection consisting of five graphic t-shirts. Why only five?
Michael Pino: There are actually eight. We have done eight designs per season for the menâ€™s line in the past and scaled it back some for the womenâ€™s. The Season III release will follow that same format with eight menâ€™s designs in a variety of colors and the same in four womenâ€™s designs. We are also adding exclusive releases to our site that are only available in select locations and are limited to 100 pieces total. As well as a few other surprises we have in the worksâ€¦
Format: How does this line differ from the earlier two?
Michael Pino: The upcoming line is more of the direction that weâ€™re moving in. The designs are more advanced in many cases and weâ€™re making sure that small details arenâ€™t overlooked in the process. I feel that the new season is a dramatic upgrade in terms of design and quality from our previous releases, but the concept hasnâ€™t changed one bit. Weâ€™ve just evolved as we continue to grow. The Season III line up is more of what I had initially envisioned when I started Acropolis.
Format: Being a relatively new brand, founded in 2007, you have come into an already established market with numerous streetwear brands already at the forefront. How does Acropolis set itself apart from some of these competitors?
Michael Pino: I think our concept and message separate us. Thereâ€™s a grip of streetwear companies out there that are all dope in their own right. So to separate yourself, you need to have a solid foundation to stand on. Ours is knowledge. The more you learn and understand, the more you can progress and achieve. We feel that telling the story behind each design not only enhances it but also gives it substance.
Format: With the growing concern for the planet, many fashion brands are launching eco-friendly lines. What are your thoughts on this growing niche market and does Acropolis have any plans to develop an organic line in the future?
Michael Pino: Itâ€™s definitely gaining steam in the clothing industry across the board and I heard somewhere recently that â€œgreen is the new blackâ€. At the moment we donâ€™t have an eco-friendly line but weâ€™re not opposed to it by any means.
Format: Who is Acropolisâ€™ biggest competitor?
Michael Pino: I would say the economy. Meaning that thereâ€™s enough demand for ill clothing that people feel represents them, but in this economic downturn it is increasingly hard to break into the game, or even survive for that matter.
Format: What does the future hold of Acropolis?
Michael Pino: The future holds what we make of it. We have goals that weâ€™d like to reach and weâ€™re making moves behind the scenes to add to the brand and diversify the collection. Weâ€™re confident in our concept and weâ€™ll continue striving to create the best possible products that have substance and style.
More Info: www.acropolisapparel.com.