To understand the brand Linus Gold you really have to dig into its founder David Mitchel’s professional past. A career Ralph Lauren employee and recognizable model for the Double RL, David brought all that precious experience to launch his newest and most personal project- LINUS GOLD. We sat down with David to dive into his love of vintage, family, and his goals with this new venture.
What is the root of your love of vintage?
Interesting enough, my love of true vintage did not come until much later in my life. Growing up, I always loved aesthetics and the way things looked in a space. I was always an enthusiast when it came to personal style and the garments and accessories that made that style come to life, but that was more all rooted in 90s culture.
When I started at Ralph in 2008 and was introduced to real Top Tier vintage items, that is when I think my mindset shifted and I started really taking an interest in what it meant for a garment or item to be defined as vintage. For me, I think because visual merchandising was such a large component for Double RL, I learned very quickly that spaces are much more visually pleasing with vintage and antique pieces because there are extra layers of discoloration, an overall patina that adds depth to that space. The more pieces I was exposed to alongside the more vitrines I merchandised, the more knowledge I gained, the more affinity I had with the vintage world.I will always adore vintage and antique goods because heavy, authentic time worn wear on an item will always be the most beautiful piece in the room.
You interestingly balance and blend streetwear with vintage sportswear. How did that come about?
I always have had a heavy appreciation for the style that aligns with streetwear/fashion, and growing up as a kid in EVERGREEN PARK, just outside south of CHICAGO, my style carried a lot of those components. Oversized garments, heavy branding, neon colors, lots of pattern, etc., and my love for both watching and playing sports were a huge part of my stylistic DNA. I have always been influenced by the superstar athlete who was able to showcase their personality/talent through their style. In the 90s for me, it was Deion, Agassi, and Jordan. I wanted to emulate their style and swag on and off the playing field/court. To me, they were just different than everybody else because it felt personal and their own. This mentality has always stuck with me along with my continued appreciation for certain fashion pieces and brands.
Once I became heavily ingrained within the “vintage world” at RALPH and DOUBLE RL, and start truly appreciating vintage sportswear, gaining knowledge and seeing the beauty within the old photography; I fell in love with the aesthetic of the garments (i.e. fabrics, texture, color palette, antifits, etc.) and I wanted to find a way to make these garments my own. I felt at the time, everybody was wearing vintage garments in such a literal manner that everybody was trying to look like the outfit on a mannequin or portray a vintage archetype. Which in turn, everybody started looking the exact same and the personal style went out the window because this was the aesthetic that was trending hard. Therefore, I wanted to take my love for certain components from the fashion world and start blending the aesthetics with vintage sportswear to elevate the duality between the two and most importantly let my personality/talent shine through with this individual balance. To me, having the ability to blend different worlds and allowing them to tell an eclectic, beautiful narrative is when it starts getting special.
How was the Ralph Lauren & Double RL experience in a nutshell and why did you leave?
In a nutshell because this could be quite long. HA! Plus you are the first person to ask me this since I fully left. Aside from my wife Kendra and son Emory, the experience at Ralph was the greatest experience of my life. First the people and team specifically at Double RL deserve a lot of credit for my path because not only did they give me the opportunity, they helped groom me into a successful brand asset. I am so very humbled and blessed that I was able to have the versatile 10-year career I did there. I say versatile because I started on the retail side both selling and managing, where then I jumped over to the corporate side where I became the Global Merchandiser for RRL; within that role I was truly able to understand how to strategically run a global business because as the merchant you are responsible for knowing all aspects of the entire brand.
I was able to be a part of a few early portrait projects, which in my opinion, were some of the most beautiful images ever taken for Ralph I was able to help build and visually merchandise many seasonal showrooms which was a big piece of the education puzzle for me because that is where the creative eye is trained. Working at Ralph almost over trains your eye and mind when it comes to meticulous details and product, which was a big take away for me because it has refined my personal eye mixed with elevating my viewpoint on all creative aspects of my life. When you are surrounded by such talented individuals on a day to day, you LISTEN, stay focused, you emulate, and then make it your own; and that was how I found my own individual success within the behemoth of Ralph Lauren as a company. They were my second family and I treated the brand as such. When I walked out of the office, I lived and breathed the brand, making it a point to be the ultimate ambassador to the outside world. Ralph Lauren and specifically, Double RL will always be part of my DNA moving forward, and I will forever be grateful to the people in that camp.
I left Ralph because my family needed me and deep down, I knew it was time to take all that knowledge and go build my dream color world, which is LINUSGOLD.
Family seems to be very important to you and the RL environment feels like that from the outside.
Both TRUE statements. My wife and I have been together for 11 years and my son is 6. So, we have been a close-knit party of 3 for a while. I hold my family very close to me because they continue to help shape me as an individual and help guide me through this next chapter; and I hope to bestow as much asI can upon both of them as we continue through the journey. You can see above in the previous question how I spoke about the RL family, but I will always say that the RL environment is a place that will nourish and take care of you because the family component starts from the top.
Where would you live outside of the USA if and when that time came?
For me, hands down, it would be in Japan. Most likely somewhere within Tokyo. To me, what I have experienced in my travels, the culture exudes refinement and taste on the highest level. The idea of customer service is on such a different tier, which in my opinion is aligned with both kindness and thoughtfulness. Two characteristics that I hold closest to my heart. I have met and grown to adore such great people from there, where I hope one day to share their mindset and culture with my family, and most importantly my young son.