I recently had the opportunity to speak with the husband and wife duo, Brian and Autumn Merritt, behind the newly opened Sir and Madame shop in Chicago. Offering wears from BKc, Tanner Goods, 3sixteen, Finn, their own vintage eyewear collection and in-house line, Sir and Madame is poised to rock the Ukranian Village in Chicago. Check out how their store came about, how they enjoy working together and future goals.
TPF: You and your wife started Solemates in 2006 as a haven for Chicago sneaker fiends. Many brands have shifted from traditional streetwear and into more classic and timeless pieces. How did this transition happen for you guys?
S+M: It was sort of a natural progression. We were pretty young when we opened the store and sneakers and t-shirts were items that we wore. As we got older we started to dress the part. We also wanted to create a brand that can stand the test of time. Another thing people shouldn’t get confused, we are still into “streetwear” just with a classic twist. We are trying to combine streetwear and classic into one.
TPF: That seems to be a winning formula today. Fusing the two can be hard, especially when working with a spouse. Does this hold true for you two?
S+M: It’s not easy but it makes our relationship stronger. It has also kept us focused on our goals because we are both eating off of the same income.
TPF: Understood. Your in-house line currently consists of dope graphic tees and some accessories. Are you guys planning on expanding the offerings?
S+M: We’ve done some woven shirts, knit sweaters, and various hats and scarves in the past. Even when we started the brand we knew we wanted to expand from doing t-shirts very early. Some things to look forward to immediately are more wovens, hats, bags, candles, denim, and some leather goods. In the future you will see us do a little bit of everything.
TPF: How much of your personal tastes resonate in your brand philosophy and store and brand design? Does the market dictate most of those choices?
S+M: Our personal tastes translate directly into what we produce and how we produce it. It’s also reflected in the way the store is set up.
TPF: What is your teams buying process? How do you make the final decisions on what comes into the store?
S+M: We bring in items that fit what we are doing at the time. We always don’t buy for the current trend, but for the next trend. We want to keep people one step ahead.
TPF: Being innovative and ahead of the trend can dramatically lengthen your brands lifespan. Collaborations are huge in the market right now. Do you guys have any in the works?
S+M: We have a few but you have to wait and see.
TPF: Where do you see your brand and store within the next 5 years?
S+M: In 5 years I can see the brand being carried at various boutiques across the world. I can see the store being a house of inspiration, style, fashion, design, and a place you can call home.
TPF: Sounds like a viable plan. It was a pleasure speaking with you both and for giving us an incite into your brand. Before we get out of here, what is your definition of success?
S+M: Being happy with yourself and state of being.
Whenever any of you guys are in the area, treat yourself to a stop in at Sir and Madame. You won’t be disappointed.
938 North Damen