Whether we like it or not, the clothes we wear send out a message to the world. It’s an unspoken language and a mishmash of all the stuff we like, pulled together every morning when we decide whether to dip back into the bits that are in circulation, or shake out a few fresh togs instead. It goes without saying, that it’s all too easy to fall into a tried and tested formula of rotating the same old favourites, which is where the Universal Works Kantha Jacket steps in.
Engineered to throw a firework into your ‘regulars pile’, these one-of-a-kind jackets put the word ‘limited’ into limited edition. The outerwear equivalent of that rare white label 12inch you’ve been praying turns up on Discogs, these unique versions of the best-selling Bakers Jacket are guaranteed to make sure you’ll never be wearing the same as someone else. The true brilliance of the Kantha though, is that it’s the epitome of sustainability. Made entirely from carefully hand-picked vintage saris, this is first-class recycling. Layers of history, all stacked up together to form one super comfortable bobby dazzler.
Historically, these types of jacket are heirloom pieces from the eastern regions of India. They’re patched and adapted with precious family saris as they move down through the generations and traditionally stitched from top to bottom to give a lightweight quilted feeling. Universal Works founder, David Keyte has always been a big fan and explains. “I’ve been collecting vintage textiles for years when on my trips to India, and always loved the possibility of reusing these incredible old pieces of fabric to breathe life into something totally new. Seeing beauty in the imperfect is what inspired me to take the block from our trusty Bakers Jacket and continue the Kantha tradition in a modern context. It means that all these amazing patterns and textures aren’t wasted – the clashing prints, small repairs and colours are celebrated instead. Understandably, trying to pull this off commercially hasn’t been easy, because they are true one-off pieces, with only one garment per size with no chance (ever!) of a repeat order.
With the inside of every jacket just as distinctive as the outside, you can fully immerse yourself in the age-old Kantha embroidery principles – if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one, that is.
We give our newsletter subscribers exclusive first access so make sure you're subscribed if you're interested if you want to hear about releases in future!