Introducing “Universal Threads”: a series spotlighting "U.W classics" and exploring common threads running through each of our collections.
The format is simple: a category, a rail of products and a light-hearted conversation between U.W brand founder, David Keyte and design journalist, Leanne Cloudsdale.
For the secret enthusiasts amongst you, we also invited Leanne for a UW journal takeover, to give us some further context on what makes each of these categories so universally relevant to us. Next up: Twill.
Words by Leanne Cloudsdale.
Twill. Go on – admit it. It’s always been the love of your life. Maybe I’m just speaking for myself here, but is there anything more attractive than a fabric that never lets you down? Fresh from the hanger, it’s ready to wear. None of that cringeworthy getting-to-know-you stuff, you just pop it on, and off you go. Living your best life.
It straddles that magical fibre bridge between stiff denim and posh corduroy. No breaking-in necessary, thanks to the power of premium quality, tightly woven cotton, dyed to every shade under the rainbow. A utilitarian dream, the clobber made from it just goes on – and on. Formulated for grafting in, sitting in, strolling down to the pub in; it’s comfy, stylish and smart, but never makes you look like you’ve spent too much time posing in front of the mirror (nobody likes a narcissist).
Featuring; MW Fatigue Jacket In Navy Twill, Oversized Sweatshirt In Olive Japanese Stripe Knit, Military Chino In Cumin Cord
Bakers Jacket In Light Olive Twill, Roll Neck In Beige Eco Wool, Double Pleat Pant In Light Olive Twill
As part of the ongoing Universal Threads Series, I grabbed a rail of UW garments made from this functional fabric and put founder David Keyte on the spot, again. The 3/1 twill weave version that UW use is created especially for them, by a specialist mill in India they’ve been working with for donkey’s years. The cloth’s popularity has even spurred UW on to introduce a new ‘Fine Twill’ which is a slightly lighter version, for days when the mercury is rising.
As a fabric, it’s not new of course. A quick whizz through Google tells me that ancient civilisations were sporting it. One boffin even dates it back to 34 BC. Safe to say, it’s been around a while. So, with the camera rolling, we flicked through the styles. It felt like coming home to a roaring fire, two buttered crumpets and an unopened letter from an old mate. Exciting. Familiar. Friendly. The holy grail of trousers and jackets.
@billyarundell Wears Universal Works Bakers Jacket in Navy Twill.
When it comes to this humble hero cloth, fans of Universal Works feel the same as me and David. So much so, that plenty of you send messages and photos, pledging your unbroken allegiance to trusty twill. I spoke to Billy from Toronto, Canada @billyarundell. He explained how, “Cotton twill is durable, but it’s also really versatile. It’s a sturdy material that offers a more professional alternative to denim, which means that I can take one UW piece (like my Bakers Jacket) and dress it up or down, depending on my needs. I prefer cotton twill because it’s relaxed, unstructured and drapes well without losing its shape. With that sturdy UW construction, it can be worn time and time again without losing its shape.”
Photography by, @charlotte_kinsella of Bride and Groom, @sharonwyllie and Groom John who wears, Universal Works Navy Twill, London Jacket, Aston Pant and Waistcoat.
John Mackenzie from Edinburgh, Scotland is a devoted wearer of the UW Military Chino. He even chose to wear top-to-toe UW on his wedding day and mentioned how, “I think the UW cotton twill worked because of how well it drapes. It’s a nice mid-weight that holds its structure - brilliant for relaxed tailoring. I didn’t want something I’d only wear once - and in my experience cotton twill seems to fade more evenly over time, than a lot of other fabrics that you can wash at home. Since getting married I’ve continued to wear the London Jacket as a standalone piece - and haven’t worn it as a full suit again (yet).”. Laughing, he said, “To be honest, that jacket could really tell some tales!”
James Morris emailed in a photo of his "WINWO" Twill garment.
James from Basingstoke, U.K., bought his first piece of UW cotton twill a decade ago. It’s still going strong. Smiling, he said, “I bought my first piece back in 2012. I was looking for a chore jacket style but didn’t want to go for the obvious brands – I wanted something slightly different. When I walked into Peggs & Son in Brighton, and clocked the UW Bakers Jacket I knew instantly that this was the jacket I’d always been looking for! It’s clocked up a long service now, so I only wear it for special occasions. To me, all those iconic cotton twill UW styles have workwear at the core, which means they never go out of style, age beautifully and moulds to the wearer’s body. I’ll wear my UW cotton twill bits throughout the year, layering up as the seasons change, which makes it a great investment.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Cotton twill is an instinctively easy, robust but comfortable anchor for the modern man’s wardrobe. On duty or off duty. Laid-back without ever looking slobby. Dial it up, dial it down. Wear it however you like, with whatever you like. David Keyte designs the garb so you mix and match it your own way. Afterall, nobody tells you what to do – you’re the boss!