When you think of Club Monaco, what initially comes to mind? This once Canadian owned fashion company has grown up! It looks quite spiffy in it’s new renovated stores. I remember it in the mid 90s when it was best known for its sweat shirts and crew neck T-shirts.
Fast forward almost 20 years later, and you will find much more than athletic sweatshirts. Club Monaco has transformed into a modern, sleek and cutting edge fashion house.
Club Monaco has n0t only grown up with its product assortment, but also in its retail environment. There used to be locations splattered all over the map in non-high profile malls like Jackson Square in Hamilton and at St. Laurent Centre in Ottawa. I distinctly remember my family and I would drive through downtown Hamilton and see the street scape windows having the stamp-like logo plastered on them.
The company has taken a leaner approach by reeling in the number of locations it operates but ensures that its locations are strategically in markets that make sense for its current day image. Think more along the lines of high profile malls and city centric fashion districts like St. Catherine Street in Montreal and Bloor Street in Toronto. Club Monaco even operates internationally in the United States, the UK and even in Macao and Hong Kong.
Club Monaco was once proudly Canadian. Like many brands and retailers, they often get scooped up by American or international companies. Club Monaco is no different, and was bought by Polo Ralph Lauren in 1999. It got its roots in Toronto, originating as a Queen Street West boutique stand alone store that was founded by Joe Mimran and Alfred Sung back in 1985 (wikipedia.com).
Much More than Just Sweatshirts
Not gonna lie, I have had at least a 5 year hiatus from shopping at Club Monaco in the past because all I could really associate with the brand were the overly mass produced sweat shirts with the stamp logo. I would randomly walk in, but was never fully inspired by the product or the retail environment. Within the last three years, Club Monaco has really stepped up their game. Living in Ottawa for the past four and half years, the fashion scene is pretty limited. I found myself wandering into the Rideau Centre location much more frequently. After taking a look at the quality of the garments and the design, my opinion on the brand has positively transformed.
Club Monaco has invested into the retail environment, making the stores feel very inspiring, exquisite and clean. Marble, minimalism and modern elements can be found throughout the space. Ottawa was lucky to undergo a renovation recently to update its location. It mimics the New York City and Montreal stores.
Club Monaco has expanded its lineup beyond sweat shirts and basic crew neck T-shirts. They carry garments made from luxury fabrics like silk and cashmere. If a vintage Chanel is up your alley, they have those too (for a pretty penny)!
Give Club Monaco a second chance, as they have certainly changed their image for the better.