Retail Therapy: Mr. Larkin

Retail Therapy: Mr. Larkin

Go around the world to our favorite boutiques and concept stores. This week, we look at Denmark-based boutique Mr. Larkin.

Go around the world to our favorite boutiques and concept stores. This week, we look at Denmark-based boutique Mr. Larkin.

Text: Danielle Combs

Curated and owned by Casey Larkin Blond, Mr. Larkin is an experiential webstore—with a brick-and-mortar location in Denmark—that houses an array of need-to-know women’s brands that are a compulsive shopper’s dream. Originally launched in 2013, Mr. Larkin is a fashion haven for an eclectic mix of indie brands, including Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Studio Nicholson, and Sophie Buhai. Founded on the principle of supporting independent women-owned brands, Mr. Larkin has quickly solidified its place as a go-to spot for shoppers looking to stock their wardrobes with artfully designed pieces you won’t find elsewhere. Read on to see how Casey founded her brand, the emerging designers to look out for, and more.

What inspired you to start Mr. Larkin? 

Mr. Larkin's story is part of two chapters; we originally began the business in 2007 as a clothing brand based in San Francisco. With a deep focus on sustainability, Mr. Larkin fell more into the category of artisan or slow-fashion. and we had a very difficult production processes. After several years running the business, I hit pause for a few years to rethink what I wanted to do and in the meantime, started my family. The store in Copenhagen, and new collection, started later after I moved to the city and had my daughter. I knew I wanted to continue designing, but the seasonal stress of tradeshows and selling didn’t fit into my vision for the future of the business, so we started by working within a direct-to-consumer model.

My mom was a buyer for years, so we discussed starting an online store with Mr. Larkin and a few others brands of the clothing we personally wore and loved. I was, of course, greatly influenced by the Scandinavian aesthetic so I wanted to create a universe that mixed all of my influences which is what made Mr. Larkin so unique when we relaunched the business. Focusing on independent, women-owned brands that have the same values I do was the most important when curating our third party offerings. My mom and I launched our US website in the Fall of 2013 and the EU site launched a few seasons later for Spring 2015. I loved that we could bring so many wonderful indie brands to Copenhagen and Europe, too.

Everything featured is meticulously curated. Were you a buyer at one point or was this a passion you discovered on your own?

My background is in design and product development, but my mom was a buyer and merchandiser for many years. She is the constant influence in my life so I am sure it naturally seeped in. Curating my site is one of my favorite parts of my job. I love when a basic tee turns into something grand sitting next to an artisan ceramic vase or knee-high studded boots.

How would you describe the aesthetic of Mr. Larkin and the products featured?

I've had people call it artfully modern, and I like that. Personally, I'm all about imperfect perfections.

Name 5 designers to know and why that are featured at your store.

Studio Nicholson: Nick just does design perfectly. Her colors, qualities, and silhouettes are exactly what smart women want to wear. Each piece you will wear and have forever.

AVN by Gianfilippo Gherardi is another favorite, and is the son of Manuela Arcari of Hache and Ter et Batine. It is fresh, colorful, and unique.

Faris: For jewelry, Faris Jewelry is everything. She offers artful statement pieces to everyday wares that are just so very special.

Gray Matters: On the footwear front, Gray Matters footwear is as beautiful to look at as they are to wear.

CristaSeya: While Seya, the other half of CristaSeya is keeping with the wearable Italian and Japanese textiles, wearable silhouettes and object offerings as before, but with a slightly more classic twist.

How did you decide on the name Mr. Larkin?

I've always doodled for as long as I can remember—school assignments, journals, at work on purchase orders, etc. One character I have always drawn was a man with a mustache and bifocals. A friend of mine I worked with in LA named him Mr. Larkin (my maiden name is Larkin). His drawing always evolved with me and in the end he became a collective muse of sort, representing all of the places and people that have inspired me. When I started this brand, it only made sense to pay him homage.

What makes Mr. Larkin unique compared to other boutiques?  

Overall, everything you see online I have personally styled and curated. We put a lot into how we tell the story of each garment. We want our customer to dream a bit more when she shops with us. We have also made a business of not buying the "bestsellers" from brands we stock. It's probably the designer in me but I tend to want the unique and special, or the pieces I personally identify with. Any sales rep that knows me knows the last thing I want to hear is "here are our best sellers". I want the showpiece. For instance, if you are searching for the crazy pink sequined dress you saw in a brand's lookbook and not even the brand itself has stocked it, it's likely that we probably did, and that is what makes Mr. Larkin a must-shop destination.

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