Community helps Queen Village mainstay reopen after it was destroyed by looters

Larnell Baldwin is now focused on making masks to keep the community protected during the COVID-19 pandemic

Tamala Edwards Image
Friday, July 31, 2020
Community rallies behind Black-owned tailoring shop damaged by looters
After the store was looted and damaged during the May protests, donations flooded in to keep this Queen Village mainstay afloat.

Larnell Baldwin's tailoring business has been a staple on Queen Village's Fabric Row since 1988.

"I offer men's and women's tailoring. I do a lot of bespoke-type suits, particularly for men," says Baldwin.

He opened his store with the goal of becoming one of the city's go-to places for quality tailoring.

Baldwin explains, "When you look good, you feel good."

Through the years Baldwin has expanded his business.

"We have a fabric store that's next door which is Baldwin's Leather and Fabric," says Baldwin. "

He also has the Fashion Institute, which is where Baldwin mentors designers and tailors.

But his properties looked much different after the events of May 30. What started as a day of peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd, devolved into rioting and looting and Baldwin's store was damaged during the chaos.

The front store window was broken and needed to be replaced.

"Glass was everywhere," says Baldwin. "It's unfortunate that things had to get to the extreme."

One of Baldwin's former students set up a GoFundMe page to help offset the cost of making repairs.

"I think that the community showed it's love," says Baldwin. "They've been so overwhelming with support."

Baldwin has been able to reopen the store and says he's now focused more on making masks to keep the community protected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Baldwin says, "Everybody seems to love the types of styles that I've been making."

He created a mask to honor his hometown team, calling it 'The Philly Special.'

Baldwin says, "It has Trey Burton throwing the pass to Foles." .

Baldwin estimates he offers about 60 different designs. One of his favorites includes a mask that has Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X on it.

"I think that this will be one of the pieces that people will want to cherish for a long time," says Baldwin.

"It's been a blessing to be here for 32 years," says Baldwin. "It's really a joy to be able to do what I do."