Written by our Nottingham, Broad Street Store manager, Frankie.
When I was younger the main highlight of any weekend was heading ‘up town’ and bouncing along the high street from store to store, whiling away the hours in music shops, clothes shops and shops that my parents might not dream of setting foot in,- ah to be a teenager. Since then retail has changed, it faces a constant back and forth of challenges and the companies behind the retail stores must evolve or face getting left behind.
In our opinion, the in-person shopping experience, especially when it comes to clothes shopping, is the jewel in any town centre's crown. The excitement of venturing into a shop you like, flicking through the rails, feeling the fabrics, and being able to try on the item is one that, for us, can't be replaced.
Here we are at the Universal Works Store on Broad Street. A space, no larger than most people’s front rooms. It has its own rhythm and doesn’t fall into anything like a conventional bracket for retail. We’re a store, within a record store, opposite to another incredible store (see YARD journal post), next to a bar and adjacent to a music venue.
The ground floor of the building is taken by our good friends Rough Trade, they have a mix of new releases and an extensive selection of second-hand records -the familiar and the complete unknown existing in perfect musical harmony. I’ve personally noticed many a UW jacket, pair of trousers or gilet flicking through those racks in my years in this building, and it is always a delight when you lovely music-loving Universal Works fans pop upstairs for a chat.
The pace in our store is slower, more personal, and in turn, we get the luxury of time and long thoughtful conversation. If you don’t want to talk you can enjoy, or despair, at my music taste while seeing what our space might be able to offer you. We have some of the most interesting customers in the business- a huge bias but we've had people from every walk of life in this store. No one person is even remotely the same. Everyone has individual style, an individual job and an individual approach, which we'd like to think is something reflected within the Broad Street store and its staff. Through conversation with a lot of these customers, we learn so much, even the unexpected things like how to darn a sock or how to install a sash window (yes, really).
We've also noticed a shift in our customer base with more women coming into Universal Works than ever before- we’re a menswear brand by title but let me assure you that there are many advantages to wearing our clothes as a woman; plentiful pockets, easier dressing decisions- everything goes with everything else for the most part and easier temperature control – layers, layers, layers. We like to think that wearing clothes that make you feel good within yourself encourage you to carry yourself differently, and with more confidence which then reflects into each interaction and moment of your day. Who wouldn’t want to seek out great clothes that give you a quiet sense of confidence in return?
To those who’ve supported us over the past few difficult years, know that you've made such a difference to the long days of Covid for us, and to our confidence in our Nottingham retail space. So please, come back to us, or come and find us, and flick through our rails and lose yourself for a moment in time and be unashamedly yourself in this somewhat ‘hidden gem’ amongst Nottingham's famous Hockley shopping streets.
Broad Street, I love you.
3-In-1 Parka' - Forest Green/Sand Recycled Poly/Nylon
Big Pocket Shirt - Black/White Patchwork Shirting (Cropped)
Oxford Pant - Black Winter Twill
Short Watch Cap - Black British Wool
Shoes are Frankies own.