Wednesday, 9 September 2015


Universal Works, founded by David Kyte and based in the heart of the old English textile industry in the midlands, have been producing beautiful yet functional men’s fashion since 2008.

The launch of the Workshop Denim collection by Universal Works last year was one of the highlights of 2014 for this denim-head. (I’ve been breaking in their trucker jacket for just over a year now.)

So, I’m happy to report that the collection has grown with the introduction of a chambray worker shirt and Slub versions of their jeans and chore jacket.

Universal Works - Workshop Denim

The Jeans

The irregular slubby denim has a wonderfully soft feel to it and the work wear inspired regular jeans have a relaxed fit with a mid rise. Based on a pair of cotton suit pants from the UW collection, the results are a very classic British take on the 5-pocket jean.

As with the other jeans in the collection the slub jeans are made with a washed 13oz denim, woven in Portugal and made in England.

The Shirt

The worker shirt continues this relaxed approach, generously cut with long tails, this is a contemporary take on a traditional British shirt. 

Manufactured in London on restored Union Specials and Japanese Juk machines from Hong Kong (the type that made the infamous shirts of Ralph Lauren in the eighties) the workmanship is of high quality.

Universal Works - Workshop Denim

From the seam gussets to the natural cotton panels reinforcing the cuff yolks the detailing is understated yet absolutely spot on.

The 5oz Chambray fabric is thick and crisp, a durable fabric that will only look better with wear and washing. I’ve been wearing it now on and off for a couple of months and the shirt is developing well.

The Jacket

UW have also introduced a slub denim version of their Baker’s Chore jacket – a garment inspired by David Kyte’s father who was a baker by trade.

I love the relaxed silhouette and feel to this garment and, as should be clear by now the detailing almost spot on - the only minor quibble I have is the selvedge line on the split breast pocket as I'm not a fan of overt selvedge detailing, but that's just me.

Functional British Fashion

This is functional British fashion with a direct link to the place it was produced and people it was made for.

Universal Works - Workshop Denim

Another strength of this collection is founded on its minimal aesthetic – there is no extraneous labeling or fuss. The buttons and rivets are unbranded and the jeans patch is hidden on the inside of the waist-band.

There is no superfluous back-story to what Universal Works do – the company’s guiding principle is simply to produce good quality British clothing, as David asserted in an earlier interview, he has deliberately “kept our jeans humble, modest and honest – kinda like us.”

The jeans are £145 a pair and the shirt is £155, and the chore jacket £199 - all available here. Or better yet pop in to one of Universal Works’ two London stores.

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