Club Monaco’s New Designer Wants to Change the Way You Wear Pants

Club Monaco is one of the few big Canadian fashion success stories. Founded in 1985 in Toronto by brothers Joe and Saul Mimran, along with designer Alfred Sung, their vision of monochromatic, easy-to-wear clothing took off at home (’80s yearbooks are filled with their iconic sweaters), before catching the eye of Ralph Lauren Corporation in 1999. Now a global lifestyle brand, the label recently brought in Matthew Millward as VP of Men’s Design.

A former designer at Abercrombie & Fitch and Nike, Millward’s job is to ensure their men’s threads stands out in the sea of options that guys are currently enjoying. “You can try to cater to all of men’s needs but then you end up not really having a strong point of view,” Millward explains. “We feel it’s important that there’s a simplicity with the Club Monaco menswear, but that there’s also that little twist that we like to add to our essentials, while really coming back to the heart of the brand.”

You might think, given Millward’s past design credentials, that this twist would mean a further expansion into athleisure, but in fact he’s drawing on his English heritage to bring in a more tailored touch. Take SS17 for example — along with understated floral prints and jacquard fabrics, he focused on crafting trousers that went beyond skinny. “I was very much wanting to play with proportion, especially within pants,” he says. “I think if you can get a great pant silhouette, that’s something that could be striking, especially in the presentation.”

In a world where fashion moves at the speed of Instagram, sticking to classic values is probably smart, even if it comes with some risk. “Truly in my heart, I think the British tailoring angle will always be there. I’ve always enjoyed introducing that with sportswear. Here at Club Monaco, it’s the ideal place to bring those together and really see it grow.” We couldn’t agree more.

The Hero Survey

What do you think about the current state of menswear?

I really think it’s a melting pot of extremes. It’s very exciting and it’s a little confusing at the same time, a little messy, but I definitely think a lot of men are starting to have way more of a voice. We’ve obviously got a huge sportswear influence going on at the same time as a resurgence of more tailoring. The modern man is much more confident and cool and aesthetically aware of himself. I think it’s exciting… anything goes right now.

What is one item every man should have in his wardrobe?

A perfectly tailored suit.

Where do you turn when you need to be inspired?

I take shopping inspiration trips to Paris, Milan or Tokyo.

What designer do you most admire?

I really admire Rei Kawakubo’s pattern cutting and Dries Van Noten’s use of print and embroidery.

What era do you think men dressed the best in?

The Edwardian era.

What era do you think men dressed the worst in?

The ’70s.

Who, living or dead, would you most like to dress?

Daft Punk.

What’s the next big trend in menswear?

Wide leg pants. It’s got a historical element to it, but it can look modern and quite chic, like a pleated pant with a cuff. Or the carrot fit, which is looser in the thigh with pleats but the lower calf is still a bit more tailored.

Lightning Round! Pick one:

Single or double-breasted jacket? Double-breasted

Collared shirt or T-shirt? T-shirt

Pleated pants or not? Pleated pants

Chinos or jeans? Jeans

Sneakers or Oxfords? Sneakers