For SS17 Universal Works explore various inspirations from mid-century Cuba, revolution, the influence of the anti-establishment Beat movement in the USA and the graphic design work of Saul Bass. The key feeling of the collection has been drawn from a collection of photographs taken by Magnum photographer Burt Glinn that captured the turning point of Cuba’s revolution.

On Jan 1st 1959, Glinn traveled from New York to Havana after hearing of the imminent Cuban revolution whilst at a party just the night before. Upon arriving in Havana he went searching for the heart of the revolution and its leaders and his photographs of this trip captured and reveal the local people and rebels he encountered around the city is the basis of our inspiration as the revolution played out around him.
A mix of military and workwear style, trousers with smart jackets, four pocket and point collar shirts and oversized pleated trousers that reference the clothing of the Cuban rebels and Havana locals, a cobbled together blend of army supplies and oversized but well tailored civilian clothing..

Our colour palette of dusty olives, ecru and sand reflects the uniforms, whilst vivid royal blue adds a bright contrast and references old European work jackets. Signature Universal Works soft suit jackets and pants appear in the same fabrics as workwear and sportswear style pieces; tropical suitings, Japanese indigos and classic 60/40, Italian tech nylons and overdyed cotton poplin appear in suits, overshirts, and beach shorts.

The seasonal print motif of a revolutionary styled fist and Caribbean palm pattern referencing the style of graphic artist Saul Bass sums up the contrast between the ideas of revolution and the beautiful paradise of Cuba and it’s people. This pattern is used on tees, sublimation printed jackets and beach shorts, and boldly screen printed.