Suzanne Akin founded Akinz in 2005 while living in Houston, and designed the brand to be a reflection of herself and all of the things she loves, including the outdoors, bikes, beer, the mountains & adventure. Initially started as a casual brand that consisted only of t-shirts and tank tops, Suzanne brought Akinz to Fort Collins, CO and has since grown the company into a brick and mortar store with an expanded offering of handcrafted products like t-shirts, dresses, jewelry, beanies hoodies and more, all made to celebrate an active lifestyle.
WHAT DOES YOUR BRAND MEAN TO YOU?
I’ve always wanted to create, but I was inspired to start my own brand because of sports and the outdoors. The brand motto & logo “Find Your Wings” comes from the idea of finding something in life that motivates you to get out and live life to the fullest. My main goal is to help people appreciate the fun parts of life with my designs.
FIRST PRODUCT YOU CREATED?
A long sleeved t-shirt named the “Heartwing” 🙂
HOW HAS YOUR PROCESS EVOLVED?
I used to knit or crochet all the beanies myself with 2 needles or a hook. When I got to the point that I was crocheting sun-up to sundown and then some, I knew I had to find a new solution. That’s when I started working with the hand operated vintage knitting machines and we’ve been able to scale the beanie line and explore new styles since then.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCT OR COLLECTION YOU’VE CREATED?
I think our scuba neck hoodie dresses were the most exciting project for me as it was our first cut and sew piece and I had been dreaming about getting them made for years. My favorite current piece is either our new patterned beanies or our leggings made from recycled water bottles.
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR STARTING YOUR BRAND?
I wanted to build something that joined my love for the outdoors, adventure seeking and adrenaline with my love for liveable, comfortable fashion.
WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU WORK WITH?
We source super soft shirts from multiple locations and then screen print them in house on a hand pulled 4-station press. The main thing you notice when you walk into our Fort Collins workshop though are the walls lined with all kinds of yarn. We use a lot of washable soft acrylic for the hats as well as wool, alpaca and cotton.
WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?
Very simply, I love to create. I love the whole process of having an idea and seeing it come to life. I also love to inspire others or make people smile thru the pieces I make.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF YOUR DAY?
When someone gets excited about our process or finds a new favorite piece that is something that I made. And playing with new colors for beanies is always fun. I love color.
BEST PART ABOUT BEING A COLORADO MAKER?
There’s absolutely no shortage of inspiration here.
ON THE DENVER FLEA WISH LIST:
The Apex Pom Beanie in Surf Green because, as they say, winter is coming.
QUICK FACT #1
We make most of our beanies and scarves by hand in house on a vintage knitting machine. (Come by our booth at Flea to see it in action!)
QUICK FACT #2
Akinz started with one shirt in 2005, from selling out of the back of a Mini Cooper at wakeboard events in Texas, to moving to the mountains of Colorado, to settling in bike & beer-centric Fort Collins, it’s been a grassroots labor of love the whole way.
QUICK FACT #3
I still draw almost all of the graphics for our shirts, but we do feature a different artist each month whose work is available for that month only! For Fall Flea, we will have ‘drinking buddies’ tees from Jon Guerdrum.