Inspired by David Hockney and Roald Dahl, and armed with a degree in Menswear Design from Central St Martins, Monica Larkin presents her first collection of luxury knitted accessories.
From internships at Margaret Howell and Folk, Larkin secured a position creating window designs and concepts for Burberry, and went on to become part of the team that strengthened the brand identity at Mulberry. In the three short years since her graduation, Monica has utilised the knowledge and experience she gained whilst working with this handful of Britain’s heavyweights and has now burst into the ring with her own collection of luxury menswear accessories. Since its launch during the autumn of 2010, Mon has already attracted a healthy fan-base. Larkin’s design talents and brand awareness have been instrumental in making her first solo fashion venture a success. i-D Online sat down with the designer to talk about craft, design philosophy and her inspirational parents.
In recent years we’ve seen a handful of attempts to revitalise the industry, so it’s really fantastic to see that you are supporting the community of British knitters and weavers who are unwavering in their art! Was this your intention? As soon as I decided to design my own collection, I knew I wanted to be involved in retaining the skills on the production side of the fashion industry. The makers I am currently using are such incredible artisans and are so respectful of the materials they use. They have a complete understanding of the key processes involved in making something of exceptional quality, and this is particularly important to the Mon brand. The main focus for us is to ensure that we continually source yarns of the highest quality, so the product moves away from being something purely practical and warm – and instead becomes something luxurious that can transform an outfit and lift your mood. It’s not about producing something exclusive per se; it’s more about the philosophy of creating a smaller quantity of really brilliant, fantastically made pieces.
You draw inspiration from a variety of places, from landscapes and Roald Dahl, to Marcel Dzama and Fleetwood Mac. What do you think swayed you to pursue fashion design as opposed to any other creative profession? My mum was a hardened Kenzo wearer during the late 1980s, always sporting amazingly well-cut jackets and skirts. But looking back, it was the way my dad dressed that inspired me to train as a menswear designer. He’d been a big David Hockney fan when he was younger and he’d bought a few prints, which hung very proudly in our house. He was really into holidaying in St. Tropez and dressing for the sunshine – like the English version of the Man From Del Monte, with the Panama hat and white slacks, dragging this hefty Globetrotter suitcase around the French Riviera with a bright red face! I knew I always wanted to design for other people but creating clothes for women just wasn’t for me. I guess I wanted to inject some of that Hockney chic into men’s wardrobes, and these accessories are really just a small corner of a much bigger picture.