Healsberg designer Andrew Acuffo is teaming up with StereoType co-creator Elizabeth Bruner to shape the world of fashion.
Akufo, who is black, has created a clothing line that he hopes is preconceived and free of stereotypes.
When Brunner, the 33-year-old designer and chief operating officer of Gapelli, took the job three months ago, he said he was faced with the assumption that his race dictated what he wore and what he expected others to do.
The idea was to design “streetwear” to represent the inner city. Instead, Akufo celebrates small victories with his handmade clothing line, which he says is “luxurious yet comfortable.”
“We’ve seen a lot of growth as a startup,” he said.
Akufo’s Gapelli brand participated in a fashion show in Vallejo in June.
He believes there is a place for fashion that is comfortable, practical and speaks to the wearer.
“I wear pink myself,” he said, sharing Brunner’s son’s choice of style.
If the fashion business bucks the trend, it could be something else.
As for the market, Akufo said, “it depends on how people wake up.”
As a $318 billion US industry, according to Statista’s 2021 survey, gender-neutral children’s clothing may have a niche.
“If you dress the kids, it’s easy to do,” said Ilse Mechek, president of the California Fashion Association.
Mechek emphasized that there are many mechanical issues when making clothes. Some design factors are subtle, like the armpit sleeves.
She explains how to sell this particular clothing line directly to consumers instead of relying on the “grandma buys” that usually happens in brick and mortar retail stores.
“Unless the retailer has unisex clothing,” she said.
Either way, Mechek added, sales in some regions will be better than others. California is the crown jewel of the states.
“There’s no question about it. A lot of style comes from California. There’s a lot of imports, and California is more open (to unique styles). That’s why the profession comes to California. It’s welcoming and diverse,” she said.
Susan Wood covers law, cannabis, manufacturing, technology, energy, transportation, agriculture, as well as banking and finance. For 27 years, Susan worked for a variety of publications including the North County Times, Tahoe Daily Tribune and Lake Tahoe News. Contact her at 530-545-8662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.