Where sustainability meets sexy, We Are HAH offers a collection of sustainable swimwear, lingerie and lifestyle apparel that is drool worthy. Founded by Sharleen Ernster in Los Angeles, the label is designed for the hot-as-hell woman. The woman who is living with a purpose, a conscience and a deep dive soul. Wearable, attainable, eco-friendly and did we mention machine washable? This sustainable fashion brand is chock full of reasons that make us so obsessed. Read on to go behind the brand.
Tell us more about We Are HAH. What inspired you to found this brand?
I have always pursued a dream for my own lingerie & swimwear brand. It was the birth of my daughters that made me take the risk of starting over in my career. I deeply wanted to redefine fashion through a sustainable filter: conscientious, beautiful, comfortable and for all women naturally.
What is We Are HAH’s aesthetic?
Authentic, natural & good to mother earth. Beautiful fashion for all occasions that you can wear everyday.
What were you doing before you founded We Are HAH?
I have been in the fashion industry my whole career: moving to NYC to attend FIT for college, procuring roles at A|X Armani Exchange, over 13 years at Victoria’s Secret and leading Guess as Chief Design Officer.
When did you first become interested in sustainability?
Over a decade ago, around 2005-2007, the evolution of organic fibers, new fiber technology and manufacturing was fascinating to me. I began to feel a deep remorse for the constant waste of time, products and ideas that the industry was burning through.
What has your journey been like as a sustainable designer?
Fantastic! I love the science of it. The challenges and the limitations make you think differently and create differently than conventional methods. I take great satisfaction in how we work and how we push ourselves to continue driving to more sustainable choices.
What’s your typical day like?
Alarm 5am: PST
5-6am: coffee, news updates & prep kids lunches + breakfast
6-7am: answer all EST emails
7-9am: kids drop off and exercise
10-7pm: is my work day with the team… Everyday of the week is different. I try to focus on a different function each day. Monday is sales. Tuesday is finances. Wednesday—my favorite day—is design day.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
No guts, no glory. My grandfather’s mantra before I was even born. It takes guts to be sustainable, and it will be the glory of the planet—not me, if we succeed in correcting the destructive path we are on now.
Do you feel like marketing We Are HAH as sustainable has helped or hindered the brand?
In the beginning, it hindered it. US buyers and customers were more or less uninterested especially unwilling to pay more because of it. The tides changed as early as 2018, sustainability started to become a buzzword. Customers would say “Oh you have sustainable products now?” and I would say, “No, that’s our purpose and part of our DNA from day 1.” But I am so happy that consumers care now. The more we teach them, the more they will drive the future of fashion.
What are your thoughts on today’s fashion cycle?
Destructive, wasteful and sad for people and the planet. We are killing the heart and soul of all the talented people working in the industry and devastating the planet. Let’s make this right!
How do you believe the fast fashion industry can begin to fix itself?
Transparency. Accountability for how we make our products and for the wasteful overproduction. Admit that we are in this together. Commit to making changes you can afford to make everyday.
How can brands manage their waste?
A question we all need help with answering and a very difficult task. Same as above: Transparency, accountability, admit to your short comings and make efforts everyday to get better.
What brands do you look up to?
What advice do you have for other designers interested in sustainability?
Evaluate if you are interested or if you are passionate. It’s an evolving industry in the early stages. It’s my opinion that you have no business in the fashion business if you are not passionate. The same applies to sustainable fashion if not more so! There is a lot to learn, a lack of a road map and a fair share of risks.
And now for some fun stuff. If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
What are some things you do for fun?
Travel… I love traveling and always have: the research, the anticipation, the planning and the experience itself. I love the whole process.
After the birth of my girls, especially the second child, it is really about time with them on weekends and soaking up these years while they are home. With only 1-2 days a week to be present for them, it flies by so fast.
What is something nobody knows about you?
Who would you love to see in We Are HAH?
Everybody… Seriously! But if we want to be epic… Lady Gaga.
Where do you like to shop?
I don’t shop much, really! And if I do, I really really love vintage from the fairs to really curated vintage. I’ve loved discovering things that no one else was wearing and making it my own my whole life. After launching HAH, I stopped shopping for anything new other than shoes and glasses…
What is your most favorite thing to wear?
My Hermes scarves. I have generations of passed down scarves and my own collection on top of that. I love pulling them out and adding them to my look.
How do you wear your values?
I wear and re-wear my own wardrobe. I wear only HAH as new and I invest in new products that fill my values where I can afford them. I buy vintage. I also trade a lot now, swapping with other brands my products for theirs…