It’s been a busy last 10 months for super cool husband-and-wife designer duo Jeff Halmos and Lisa Mayock, formerly of Shipley & Halmos and Vena Cava. Not only did the two recently welcome a new baby boy (their second child), but today they are launching their first fashion foray together: Monogram, a direct-to-consumer offering of graphic T-shirts and sweatshirts.
"We kind of resisted the idea of working together at first because we have a lot of personal stuff going on, but as we started talking about the concept, it’s something that we not only thought was a great idea but it kind of brought together our shared interests," Halmos says. "Lisa has always had a big collection of vintage T-shirts and she embraces that certain style of dressing that incorporates them. They're conversation-starters and she always gets compliments on them, but at one point she came to me and said that she just wasn't finding cool new ones."
Mayock continues, “Graphic tees are an iconic wardrobe piece. I think they’re democratic and they’re something that pretty much everyone has and they understand how to wear them.”
Screen-printed in Los Angeles, the full range of tees ($60) and sweatshirts ($100) feature 27 graphics and seven styles, including an oversize one called "Pins," naturally emblazoned with a bevy of slogans and sayings. Another is dubbed "Casual Encounters" with a fitted body and tight sleeves and typography that appears to unzip down the shirt. While the natural inclination may be to pair these "conversation-starters" with jeans or cut-offs, Halmos and Mayock purposely didn’t style any of their pieces that way.
"We were celebrating a certain way of dressing, so pairing graphic T-shirts with fashion pieces and putting them in more of a fashion context versus just showing them with jeans," Mayock says. "We wanted to show people how to be creative with T-shirts and sweatshirts, and I think there are a lot of cool women out there who will wear a sweatshirt to an evening event or wear a T-shirt under a suit." Fittingly, the twosome will be launching an editorial section of Monogram, where they will interview interesting women who have great T-shirt and sweatshirt style and wear these staples in unique and unusual ways.
And since graphic tees and sweatshirts are incredibly visual, Halmos and Mayock thought the direct-to-consumer model was most appropriate for their new brand.
"We’re excited for the customer to get them in the mail and touch and feel them and be so happy that they’re super soft and cool," Mayock says. "We both come from wholesale backgrounds and we really like the idea that we can get feedback immediately from the customer. We're just super excited to listen and react quickly."