McKay Fried Enters Fashion Arena

Boston Shop Partners With The Larkin Group to Pitch Designers
BOSTON–The Larkin Group, which specializes in trade shows for the fashion industry, has teamed up with McKay Fried & Partners to provide a broad range of communications and marketing services to designers.
The pair will work together under the banner Larkin McKay Fried, which has been established as a separate entity at McKay Fried’s offices in Boston.
McKay Fried chairman John McKay, who will serve as president of the new venture, said legal details, such as whether his shop will incorporate Larkin McKay Fried, are still being worked out. However, McKay Fried will maintain a controlling interest, and eventual profits will be divided according to the ownership split, McKay said. Susan Larkin, a partner in The Larkin Group, will serve as chairman of Larkin McKay Fried.
The Larkin Group’s role in the partnership is to help broker deals with fashion clients and convince them to use the new entity for ad services. McKay Fried’s existing staff will then work on campaigns. Larkin McKay Fried does not at present have a dedicated staff of its own.
The Larkin Group last year initiated a search for an agency partner to provide advertising services to its clients, primarily design houses such as Betsey Johnson and XOXO [Adweek, June 16, 1997].
The company chose McKay Fried after meeting with more than a dozen shops, primarily creative boutiques in New England. “They had so much talent in so many different areas,” Larkin said, noting the agency’s campaigns for Merriam-Webster and the Atlantic Coast Brewing Co. as well as the chemistry she shared with McKay and creative director Marvin Fried.
For The Larkin Group, which produces the International Fashion Boutique Show in New York, among others, the partnership gives the company an added cadre of services to sell to clients, Larkin said.
With 115 employees nationwide and offices in New York and Los Angeles and Newton, Mass., The Larkin Group is one of the country’s largest fashion trade show firms, competing mainly with George Little Management and the trade show unit of Women’s Wear Daily, Larkin said.