“It’s a little chilly, but I’m not dying. You know what I mean?” Sharlene Gerus is sitting out on a restaurant deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It’s a fairly typical Los Angeles winter day that she’s describing (breezy, mid-60s), but it’s her attitude that’s refreshing. The 37-year-old is cheerful, authentic, and, most importantly, content with whatever the wind blows her way. Not an easy feat for the mother of two young girls and cofounder ofmisterMrs, her sustainable, curated, all-black clothing line. Her secret to it all? Simplify.
“As a family, we try to really think about [whether we need something] if we buy things—whether it be clothes, toys, or even arts and crafts. If we’re still thinking about it after two days, then we should go get it,” Gerus says. This mindfulness flows throughout every aspect of the misterMrs brand (which Gerus runs with her husband), from the sustainable fabrics and accessories to the universality of the all-black collection. In fact, the company was actually started as something of a mindfulness exercise.
“My husband did an experiment a long time ago. He said, ‘I'm going to try to only wear black,’ because it was so opposite of who he was,” Gerus says with a smile. The monochrome shift inspired the couple’s personal style for years while they were living in London: “You could wear the same thing, and people don’t even care so much about what you’re wearing—it's more about what you’re saying, what you’re doing, what you’re bringing to the conversation. It’s a part of you, but it's not you.”
After years working creatively in advertising and fashion, the couple knew that they had something unique on their hands. “It was a natural thing,” Gerus says. “It just seemed like [this wardrobe] wasn’t out there. We couldn’t find what we were needing.”
So one year ago, they moved to LA and decided to take a chance on their own style and talent by creating misterMrs. “We just wanted it to be good quality, simple, sustainable, and all black,” she says. The current collection includes only four items for each men and women: a t-shirt, a pair of pants, a jacket, and a jumpsuit. According to Gerus, this can cover all the bases: “We wanted the line to simplify your day so that you wake up in the morning and you put it on, whether it be the shirt and the pants or the jumpsuit. You put it on and, literally, you could wear it to the playground with your kids with Converse, or you could wear it at night to a fancy dinner with heels. So, we wanted it to be versatile in that it can go anywhere with a change of accessories. We wanted people to feel good in it, and also for it to be affordable.”
With all pieces priced under $300, misterMrs might not seem the most affordable, but it’s very well priced for the time and craftsmanship that comes with creating a 100 per cent sustainable clothing line. “Even down to the hang tag and the label, it’s all sustainably-made. Even the packaging,” says Gerus. “It took a lot longer to do; a lot longer to get in the zippers and the buttons. You can find sustainable material, but we wanted it to be good quality and we found it was hard at that time, when we were starting the brand, to find good-quality sustainable products. Whereas, I think, now it’s the trend with Everlane and Reformation. Now if you have a brand and it’s not sustainable, it’s kind of like, ‘Why not? What’s wrong with you? How could it not be?’”
The minimalist line, which is entirely made of organic linen and hemp cotton, isn’t meant to limit your creativity; rather, it’s supposed to let your best qualities shine through. “It all goes together, and it’s the wearer’s personality that will be shining out,” Gerus says. She has plans that include brick-and-mortar stores, a home line, and more, but even with expansion in the future, misterMrs will always be ethical.
“Because I have two little kids, I think about [the waste and pitfalls of the fast-fashion industry] more. It impacts the people in this world,” says Gerus. “It’s obviously the world, it’s the planet, but also it’s the people who make it. It’s not fair to them, it’s not fair to their families, and they deserve better. They shouldn’t be having to do these jobs in order to provide for their families, and I have a family. It sits heavy with me. You need to do it the right way.”