Ever wondered how the Bakers Jacket got its name? UW Co-Director and Designer David Keyte reveals all…
‘November 2008, I was working on the designs for the first collection; I had 25 years’ worth of ideas; had worked with some of the best names in UK men’s fashion, but never on my own terms or on my own collection.
The inspiration for the collection was not about high fashion or excessive design but the working clothes and simple, stylish, weekend garments I watched my father and uncles dress in when I was a kid. They were not rich but liked to wear good clothes, a nice bit of tweed and polished shoes, on a weekend, but it was the everyday garments of their working lives that influenced that first collection. In reality, what they were wearing was probably dated by the time I saw them, as they were still dressed in fifties and early sixties clothes in the seventies!
I began with a simple everyday “Work Jacket”. Back then everybody’s idea of a work jacket was the French blue version, the US Chore Jacket or Engineers Jacket. The one I designed was in that same mould but I remembered the curved sleeves of my dad’s work jacket from years of wear so I added darted sleeves to achieve this more ergonomic shape. Essentially it was the same simple work jacket I’d had in my head all those years except with a few more considered touches.
Once the jacket was taking shape, the pattern made, samples in work, I needed to give it a name. The Work Jacket would have been the obvious choice, but I wanted it to be a nod towards my old man, and not only did he work really hard he also had a skilled job; he was a Baker. That was it, Bakers Jacket was born. It is a hard-working simple jacket, much like my Dad was a hard-working simple guy, what you saw was what you got.
The bakers jacket is not some generic “heritage” style, but like the bread my father made it is a great everyday staple. Over the years the Bakers Jacket has become the Universal Works staple jacket and we make new iterations every season in a variety of fabrics. it is much more than a manual work jacket. For us at Universal Works, it has become a bit of an iconic piece.
So what’s in a name really? Whatever the name of the jacket, I am glad we still make it and hope that we continue to make it for a few more years to come. I started doing this as I was obsessed with making great garments I wanted to wear and hoped others would too.’