Many of us have been waiting ages for Club Monaco to offer online shopping, and today our multilayered, gauzy-scarf prayers were answered. Long the favored brand for urban sophisticates looking to infuse their wardrobes with modern office separates and chic weekend wear alike, I can personally count Club Monaco on the top of my must-stop shopping list. Not only are their blazers exquisitely crafted in well-cut luxury fabrics, they’re priced for those with a more modest budget. What’s also interesting about this Canadian-born brand is that it is currently owned by Polo Ralph Lauren, so you know the level of taste and attention to quality is of the utmost importance. But here’s where my “WHHAAA?” question-mark-slash-garbled-mouth-noise comes in. You guys, why does Club Monaco’s website (and some of their clothing) suddenly, out of zee blue, remind me specifically of Madewell?
As much as I don’t want to criticize—because believe me, I’m a Club Monaco fan and customer—I don’t get why their website is so obviously influenced by Madewell. I hesitate in saying blatant rip-off, but really, check out the font used above. The left-hand side is a screen grab of Club Monaco’s must-have choices from their editor. While there’s nothing wrong really with the words “P.S. YOU NEED THIS” (though they do hearken the title of the popular P.S. I Made This blog), the font looks almost directly lifted from the Alexa Chung for Madewell font. Am I right? It’s just a little too close for my comfort. To further prove my point, I present you with this…
*Sigh* Please don’t make me upset, Club Monaco, but why are you peddling a bat tee that looks eerily similar to Alexa Chung’s Sketchbook bat tee? What’s more, might I go ahead and play Spelling Police? It’s not designed by Zoe Karson but by Zoe KARSSEN, so I’m just kindly alerting you to that. Yes, Karssen’s tee is slightly different from Alexa’s, but you can agree that the idea was heavily inspired by (aka directly taken from) Alexa’s original design for Madewell. I’m not the only one who has a problem with this. The fine folks over at Racked pointed this out last year.
But aside from that, I find some of the clothing from spring to be reminiscent of the comfy layers Madewell does so well. I realize there will be trend overlaps in stores that sell to similar customers, but from your Celine Cropped Parka to Madewell’s Cloudburst Jacket and from the layers of stripes and florals above (Club Monaco on the left, Madewell on the right), I find the look and feel to be very similar in the styling department. I’ve always thought of Club Monaco’s clothing to be slightly more sophisticated, though, and for a slightly older demographic, whereas Madewell feels more youthful and free spirited. To be more specific, I don’t see Club Monaco offering music festival-friendly styles, though perhaps they’re hoping to move more in this direction? Or maybe this is a whole new look for Club Monaco? Or great minds think alike? Whatever the reason, I LIKE THE SITE; I just find the similarities to Madewell’s site, typography, and styling to be uncanny. Still, I’m gonna buy from you both. Forever.