Gert Barkovic has a sharp eye and knows exactly what she likes. Imperative qualities if you’re the co-founder and buyer of one of Washington, D.C.’s most reputable menswear stockists – MUTINY. From MUTINY’s overall aesthetic to the garments and provisions they carry founded on the principles of craftsmanship and longevity, we’ve discovered a kinship in their brand. We recently caught up with Gert to find out more on MUTINY’s backstory, her approach to curating the shop and for some last minute assistance in holiday shopping.
How did MUTINY get its start?
MUTINY started in 2009 as an art installation at REDEEM. The inspiration came from the road trips that my husband and I were going on at the time. I started to become a pack rat because we were meeting a lot of people along the road who were fabricators of beautiful things. I looked at my collection at one point and noticed that it was becoming a narrative that was very masculine and articulate. There was literature, whiskey, road maps and all these little things that piled together. The instillation felt personal, as if going into somebody’s home and seeing how they lived and worked. That was really the beginning of MUTINY. We did that for a month, and then we did another installation the following spring and winter. Slowly, all these things started to procure of what eventually became the MUTINY collection.
Everything is so tightly curated within your shop. Could you tell us more about the brands you carry, the people you work with, and the MUTINY customer?
A lot of the brands we carry are brands that we’ve personally been following or have worn for some time. They’re all, for the most part, very independent, small run shops. The designers do limited runs and really believe in high quality. Because of this, a lot of things are handcrafted or handmade along the way. There’s a great deal of integrity and we really pursue them because we don’t believe that fashion is disposable. We believe in beautiful pieces that are made to last.
A lot of the designers who we work with are men and women who we have dinner and trade handwritten notes with. It’s almost become a requirement for us to have that type of close relationship if we want to work together.
I find that our customers seek us out because we have these types of relationships and we’re carrying the types of garments that we do. They’re informed and have the same compass that we do in terms of what’s important to them, how they want to wear things and what they believe in.
MUTINY operates online, but it isn’t uncommon to run into you at a pop-shop event in Washington, DC, or somewhere along the east coast. What does having a physical presence mean to you?
We say it’s a digital world, but I think people like to communicate in a more analog way. I’m a sculptor by trade and I was originally doing MUTINY out of my studio. I welt and work with concrete, so it was hard to keep a clean space inside of a dirty one. So, I found a second studio that we’ve started running our online shop out of. It’s at 52 O Street Artist Studios, which is a beautiful old warehouse that houses a lot of designers and artists. The space is curated in a way that it’s almost like a showroom. We do events and keep our workroom accessible for our local customers because guys are still very tactile.
Where are some of your favorite places to go to in D.C.?
I’m going to cheat a little and go 40 minutes outside of DC. The Woodberry Kitchen is a farm-to-table restaurant that is located inside of an old warehouse in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore. The food is out of this world and I consider it the best restaurant in town.
I’m very partial to Asian food, so I would definitely put Toki Underground on the list. I would also include Daikaya and Izakaya Seki – they both are Japanese. Daikaya is a ramen house and Izakaya Seki specializes in small plates with amazing whiskey – a MUTINY requirement.
For hanging out, I love to spend time in the atrium at the National Portrait Gallery. I also love to go to any bookstore — Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café because it’s an easy walk from my house or Politics and Prose because it’s an amazing bookstore that has everything from books to music and they have a café.
Lastly, what gifts will you be giving this year?
1. Triumph & Disaster Old Ritual Face Cleanser – I always gift apothecary because I feel like people today tend to not buy nice things for themselves.
2. The Logan Blackwatch Lambswool Scarf – You can never go wrong with a cold weather accessory.
3. Smith Journal No. 12 – I love to give some type of journal or beautiful art book that’s inspirational.
4. The Blue Cullen Brushed Oxford – The fabric is great and blue is one of my favorite colors.
*Photograph of Gert Barkovic by Kate Warren