OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A native Oklahoman who is making his mark on the fashion industry is giving back to an organization close to his heart.
Andrew Akufo grew up in the Oklahoma City metro area.
After getting a fine arts degree at the University of Central Oklahoma, he moved to San Francisco and decided to get into fashion.
“It was a new adventure for me. I was ready to transition to doing something different and this was the perfect opportunity to do that,” Andrew Akufo, co-founder of Gapelii, said.
Akufo and a friend started Gapelii last year. It’s a luxury brand featuring men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing and accessories.
Ten percent of net proceeds goes back to communities in need. Right now, those proceeds are going to the Oklahoma NAACP.
“Right now, civil rights and the fight against racial injustice is a major topic so we wanted to do something to support it,” Akufo said.
Akufo says the Black Lives Matter movement has helped his online business grow.
“It’s brought a lot of awareness to black businesses. We talk about Black Lives Matter and it’s not just through preserving black lives physically with police brutality and reform and all of that, but it’s also about supporting the livelihood of black people here in America,” Akufo said.
All across America, there has been a surge of interest in black-owned businesses.
Uber Eats is waiving delivery fees for those who order from a black-owned restaurant.
Meanwhile, Google is pledging $175 million to support black entrepreneurs and small black-owned businesses.
“And this is just a perfect way with the movement going on right now to counter that and help level the playing field for business owners to hopefully build up equity,” Akufo said.
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