[Black Business Interview Series] akiO's Glorious Heroes by Akio Evans [Written by Shae McCoy]

Akio,shot by Kirby Griffin

Don’t let anyone steer your wrong by telling you that nothing good comes out of Baltimore. Believe it or not, this city is the home of the movers, shakers, and tastemakers.

33-year-old Akio Evans definitely defies that stereotype. Growing up in the inner city of Baltimore wasn’t easy for most of us. We had to deal with crime, seeing drug addicted people on the streets, having less than others, and the list goes on.  Not many people see hope in our youth as they assume that we will become products of the environment. Akio grew up in East Baltimore in a single parent home. As a child, he was fascinated with television shows that we may have all shared love for in the 90’s such as Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, In Living Color, Martin, and movies like Friday and Belly. His love for these shows and movies inspired him to start creating art and designs on shirts, hats, and shoes. At 18 Akio taught himself how to put art on clothing. It started off as a simple hot glue gun and sewing routine, but as time progressed, so did his skill set and now he specializes in selling clothing. After high-school Akio took to the west coast for 2 years and he sold his clothing and co-owned a store in 2006.

Akio is a man with many talents. His heart was in fashion design, but he is also the man behind the camera. When he returned back to Baltimore from the west coast he started to explore more with filming. Self taught, Akio left fashion alone, until his friend, The Wire actor, Felicia Pearson (Snoop) egged him on to start making custom shoes. He made a pair for her and shared the finished product images on social media and grabbed the attention of many including celebrities. His pieces have been privately collected by Dave Chappelle who was referred to Akio by Donnell Rawlings after catching sight of his “Ashy Larry” inspired converses. Recently he has caught the attention of Colin Kaepernick on social media, with a shirt he designed inspired by him. (see below)

Akio‘s name in Japanese means Glorious Hero which is where his brand name akiO’s Glorious Heroes derived from. The tags on his work are made to commemorate his mother, Glorious Taylor who battled  heart disease and passed in April of 2012.


Custom Converse by Akio’s Glorious Heros

Check out the interview below.

Custom Tee by Akio’s Glorious Heros

What is the name of your business/organization?

The name of my business is Akio’s Glorious Heroes

How long have you been running your business/organization?

I’ve been running my custom apparel business since 2002

What services do your provide/products do you sell?

The services I provide is custom graphic artwork, customized clothing, and shoes. I sell clothing and wearable art.

How does your business/organization serve the community?

My business serves the community by allowing individuals to be creative and wear their own personalized art, expressing themselves in a way that purchasing from a vendor does not allow them to.

Do you have plans on branching out further to serve communities other than your own?

I do plan to branch out and serve other communities and I have in places like Melbourne Australia where I collaborated and donated some custom work to organizations like “YOUTH PROJECTS” catering to aboriginals in Melbourne and “BEE KEEPER”, a company that up cycle’s clothing from Cambodia and donates the proceeds to Cambodian youth for an education.

List one long term and one short term goal that you have for your business/organization.

One short term goal that I have for my business is to develop more merchandise to sell in the months to come and to do raffles to give items away. My long term goal would be to have my limited footwear in some stores all across the world, being an inspiration for the people from my city and soon have a workshop for children to learn how to create their own clothing , becoming young entrepreneurs to eliminate societies driven force on the fantasized necessity of wearing name brands.

Where can people go to find out more about your business or organization? (social media, website,etc…)

On Instagram and facebook @AkioEvans custom page @akiosweatshop and my website akiosgloriousheroes.com imdb.me/akioevans