Erna Leon Founder of MERCER7 tells us in this Interview what inspired her to set up MERCER7 the key pieces we should all have in our wardrobes and why shopping for classics makes more sense in the long run.
I came across Erna and her amazing sense of classic style at a Style event earlier this year and have since followed MERCER7 on instagram. Like most women I love to buy those trend (usually high street) items however the pieces in my wardrobe that I keep going back to are the classics. Erna makes it all super simple for us busy women by finding key pieces each season and curating them over on MERCER7, her fabulous online store.
Erna and her team are like virtual personal stylists, there to help guide you and help you find items of clothing that will stand the test of time.
I do feel that there is a lot to be said for the statement ‘less is more’ and love this mentality of buying less, better quality clothing and wearing them for longer. Not only is it better for the environment but at the end of the day I’m sure it will be better for our wallets too.
“ONLINE SHOPPING CAN BE OVERWHELMING AND WEBSITES ARE ALL TOO OFTEN SATURATED WITH TOO MANY OPTIONS. I WANTED TO CREATE A FOCUSED SPACE WITH ONE AESTHETIC ALL IN ONE PLACE, TO MAKE SHOPPING EASIER FOR BUSY WOMEN. WE MAKE SURE TO SELECT THE FINEST PIECES THAT ARE EASY TO WEAR AND SIMPLE TO STYLE, SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO SPEND HOURS ON END TRYING TO SEARCH FOR A PERFECT OUTFIT.” – ERNA LEON
1: Tell us a little about yourself?
I am Armenian, but was born in Georgia. I moved around a lot when I was little because both of my parents are musicians, but we finally settled in New York when I was 16.
My background is in fine arts, but before I went to university my older brother suggested that, if I wanted a stable career, I should think about studying something else.
So, having taken his advice, at 22, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and started working for different brands as a designer. I absolutely loved everything about the design process from the initial sketches to draping, fitting and receiving my first samples. I still miss it, but styling and curating the collections are just as fun.
Then after meeting an Englishman in New York we got married and moved to London. After becoming a mum, I decided to take a career break. Two kids and four years later I launched MERCER7 so I could be my own boss and work flexibly around my family life.
2: What inspired the launch and set up of MERCER7?
Online shopping can be overwhelming and websites are all too often saturated with too many options. So many times I would order something online and be disappointed with the quality or fit after receiving my order. So I decided to create a focused space with one aesthetic all in one place, to make shopping easier for busy women. The aesthetic is minimal and effortless with a bit a of rock’n’roll edge, and I make sure to select the finest pieces that are easy to wear and simple to style, so you don’t have to spend hours on end trying to search for a perfect outfit. It is all about having the ultimate capsule wardrobe where everything just works together and can be styled multiple ways.
I like to think of MERCER7 a bit like an online personal shopper. I collaborate with brands and curate collections from high street to luxury, taking the hassle out of online shopping.
3: What is MERCER7 about and what are the companies beliefs?
MERCER7 is an expertly curated online shopping destination with a focus, offering capsule wardrobe essentials and investment pieces that last beyond the latest season and are more sustainable by representing timelessness, rather than fast-fashion trends.
I aim to inspire, collaborate and create a lifestyle concept with a purpose: SUSTAINABILITY THROUGH TIMELESSNESS. I believe that our everyday can be lived in more sustainable way by being more mindful, consuming less by choosing better. Whilst this drives my mission, it’s the people that are at the nucleus of my brand. I love interviewing inspiring people, champion other creatives and I love collaborating with brands who I admire.
4: What is the hardest part of your job?
I think the hardest part of my job is finding the balance between work and family life. I tend to never switch off work which sometimes can be a bit overwhelming when you’re a full time mother and run your own business.
5: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Receiving emails from women who shop my edit, who find their love for fashion again and start to feel good about themselves without making massive changes in their lives. Bringing out that confidence in women I style is very rewarding. Also, since starting MERCER7, I have met so many incredible and likeminded women who I now call friends. I think having found that support network and being able to share your highs and lows with people that you trust is very important.
6: Three key pieces that you currently couldn’t live without?
A biker jacket, a well tailored menswear inspired blazer and a pair of killer shoes.
7: What items should everyone women have in her wardrobe?
All of the above plus a great jumpsuit, a little black dress, a perfect pair of black jeans, good cotton basics, a leather bag, bit of cashmere and a button down shirt.
8: What are your thoughts on classic style vs fashion trend?
MERCER7 is definitely all about the classics, investment pieces and timeless wardrobe essentials. I think it is so important to focus on quality and longevity when shopping for new clothes – pieces that you will love season after season rather than trend focused fashion that gets stored or thrown away after a few wears.
9: Best leather trousers, jacket and skirt for this season?
I am loving ME+EM leather trousers from current collection, Dom Goor or Joseph leather leggings are the best. A big fan of Anine Bing, Saint Laurent or Acne Studios leather jackets. If you’d like a more customised biker, Laurie Lee is amazing. When it comes to skirts, it’s all depends on body shape – so I would recommend one that suits and fits you best. The one I’m currently lusting over is Isabel Marant sequin skirt and Balmain leather mini.
10: Final thoughts on trends for winter 2017/18
I think timeless design is always on trend. Stick with the classics that you can wear multiple different ways.
You can buy one thing per season that’s “on trend” if you have the urge to do so, and this season I am loving the Prince of Wales check blazers and coats. They are everywhere at the moment and considered to be “on trend”, however, it’s always been one of the most timeless patterns out there. In fact, it dates back to the 19th century!
Erna Leon Stokes