The tracksuit has always been one of life’s less talked-about luxuries, but we’ve decided to change that with the introduction of the Universal Works version. A classic two-piece combo made from a supersoft cotton and sturdy polyester mix, the K-Pant and Hooded Top have been engineered as the perfect seasonless layers. Designed to echo the traditional sporting shapes of the late 1970s and early 80s, the ideal way to wear them, ironically, is apart. But for those who fancy going the full Bruce Lee, we salute you.
Equally lightweight and informal, the Hooded Top looks brilliant worn under an overshirt or Bakers Jacket. You can even stick it under an unstructured tailored jacket if you feel like going a bit more formal (it’s definitely what a young Dustin Hoffman would have done). The K-Pant has the obligatory elasticated waistband, drawstring waist and four generous pockets. Cut for city striding, these are elevated trackky bottoms – far too posh for taking the bins out.
To unpick the athletic inspiration behind the duo, UW founder David Keyte rolls us back his teenage years and explains, “Growing up on housing estates in the 1980s we all had a uniform of sorts and for many it was the ubiquitous polyester “tracksuit”. For me, it was always about mixing it with other elements, like a track jacket with a smart pant, or a track trouser with a formal jacket. I think it’s because I’ve always loved combining the opposites, like basics with luxury or modern with vintage.
So, when we felt it was time to make our own version of the famous two-piece beloved by both sports stars and hip-hop artists alike, I really wanted to do two things. Firstly, I wanted to create a cool, comfortable shape and silhouette, basing the 'K Track Pant' on our Japanese inspired 'Kyoto Work Pants' and the 'Track Top' on a slightly oversized 1980s version with a loose hood and oversized pockets, both with a bold contrast stripe. The second (and probably most important feature) was the fabric itself. I didn't want to add to the mountain of polyester waste out there, preferring to work only with post-consumer recycled polyester fibres, and of course, thinking about the longevity of the garment.
And whilst the design and development of this idea started long before the advent of spending much more time indoors, on the sofa, the 'K Track Pant' and 'Hooded Jacket' is fast becoming part of the post-lockdown loungewear lux – when it’s been made with as much care and soul as ours, it was never just going to be another tracksuit.”