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Not every couple can navigate marriage, parenting young kids, and running a lifestyle brand
and store, but Brian and Autumn Merritt do it artfully, making it look easy — a real-life definition
of couple goals. The duo is the creative force behind their “classic with a twist” Chicago-based
apparel label, Sir & Madame. The Merritt’s Hyde Park store brings in both customers and fashion
stylists alike, with themed collections snapped up as soon as they’re launched.

It doesn’t get much more “meet cute” than this –
Brian and Autumn Merritt met in middle school
at Hyde Park’s Ray Elementary, and later attended
Kenwood Academy together. After college, Autumn
knew her future included becoming a part of the
Chicago creative community and building a life
with Brian – starting a fashion business together
made that possible on both counts.

Two months after getting married in 2007, they
opened Solemates in Wicker Park, a consignment
sneaker store. The Merritts later rebranded the
store as Sir & Madame, adding their own private
label designs – and opened the first dedicated Sir &
Madame store in Ukrainian Village in 2010. They
saw a void in the boutique market for men’s and
women’s casual wear with unexpected details, and
together they produce eclectic collections of casual
and elegant pieces. With Autumn handling the retail
and marketing operations and Brian in charge
of product line management, they’ve formed
a partnership that plays on their strengths
and continues to evolve.

Hyde Park was always on
their radar as a possible new
store location, but at that
point the local retail scene was
still somewhat undiscovered outside the
neighborhood. The University of Chicago
invited them to open a popup
location on 53rd Street in
September 2013 and when
the six-month term ended,
they knew they wanted
a permanent location in
their old teenage stomping
grounds – where they grew
up and formed a family.

Their store at 5225 S. Harper Court
opened in August 2015, and at the time Autumn
commented, “When we were teenagers, it (Hyde
Park) was the place to be—where all the cool people
were. All of that was sort of lost until now, and we
want to be a part of bringing that back.” Since then,
Sir & Madame has become one of the neighborhood’s
don’t-miss shopping destinations, attracting
customers from all over the city, reinforcing
Chicago’s place as a center for fashion –
and bringing more awareness
to the neighborhood’s

Brian remarked, “People who
aren’t familiar with the South
Side, when they come (here) they’re like, oh
well, it’s not what the news makes it out
to be, and they realize we have good
stuff here on the South Side. Good
food, entertainment, and shopping,
and you’ve got a thriving
neighborhood in Chicago.”
Autumn added, “It means a ton
to us just to have a presence here
and to be able to touch people
and talk to people and inspire
people, and be inspired by people.”

The couple has starred in a day-in-the life Honda
Civic commercial that aired after the Cubs won the
World Series, has been featured in Marie Claire
magazine, and when interviewed for a January
2017 Chi City Fashion blog post, Autumn said,
“Over the past 10 years we have witnessed so much
growth within the art, fashion and music communities…
it truly is amazing. Chicago is a city that for so
long was overlooked with limited resources in the
fashion and retail industries, so to be instrumental
in that shift is important to us.”

5225 S. Harper Court

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