Being that a good T-shirt is one of our favorite things, we are superexcited about our collab with MONOGRAM. Lisa Mayock and Jeff Halmos, lovers of vintage tees and makers of vintage-inspired new ones, joined forces with our design team to create a mini collection that ticks all the retro-meets-right-now boxes. We chatted with Lisa about design inspiration and the Bill Wyman song that best reps the label’s aesthetic, among other things.
Let’s talk about how you and Jeff started MONOGRAM.
Jeff and I met at a party years ago and became friends when both of our then-brands (Shipley & Halmos for Jeff, Vena Cava for me) were represented by the same showroom. Nine years later, we’re married with two little boys. We also both have a real affinity for graphic design and vintage clothes. Finding amazing vintage tees used to be easy—they were plentiful and cheap! Now the good ones have become hard to find and expensive. So we decided to create new T-shirts that capture the same vintage spirit and MONOGRAM was born.
When it comes to designing your tees, which comes first—graphics, words or a mix of both?
Usually we come up with a slogan and then think about great ways to treat the typography. Does it need an image to go along with it? Is the slogan enough with just really compelling type? Would it be cooler in an illustrated style? We mock it up in a few different ways before picking a winner.
Speaking of, what were your inspirations for the Madewell x MONOGRAM tees and sweatshirt?
For This Is a T-Shirt About Women, we wanted to come up with something that was female-centric and simple but also something we hadn’t seen before. We liked the idea of doing a ringer T-shirt for our collaboration because it has a slightly vintage, tomboy feeling that felt right for both brands. The ringer shape around the wearer’s neck and the navy screen print make a female symbol.
Think Summer was actually inspired by a vintage book cover that [head designer] Joyce found called All About Poodles. Something about the combination of that matter-of-fact title and this photo of a poodle staring off into space was just really funny. We wanted to recreate the feeling with a straightforward “Think Summer” message and a melting ice cream cone. It has an imperfect ’70s ad quality that we’re really into.
The sweatshirt, Let’s Get Acquainted, is our first front-to-back, allover print. It was a new way of putting messaging on a top, and we love how it came out.
All of your pieces have that just-right, worn-in feel and fit. How do you do it?
Thank you! It’s taken over a year to perfect all the elements, with subtle tweaks happening during every round of production. We make everything from scratch: from knitting the fabric, to cutting, sewing, dyeing, washing and screening the T-shirts. It all happens right here in LA by small, family-owned factories.
If you had to pick a song that sums up the MONOGRAM aesthetic, which would it be?
“(Si Si) Je Suis Un Rock Star” by Bill Wyman, a low-fi, fantastic jam that’s delivered with a sense of humor.
BRB, gonna fall down an ’80s music video rabbit hole now. Shop the full Madewell x MONOGRAM collab here.
P.S. NYC friends: Don’t miss our Chat & Chill event with Lisa and our head designer Joyce on December 14th. We’ll have sips, snacks, tunes and a free denim tote with every purchase.* Better yet, 20 percent of the proceeds from the event will go to Girls Inc. RSVP “yes” now.
*While supplies last.