In the introduction to the what works section of our journal we spoke about the friendships, new and sustained that make what we do possible. On a back street in Leicester, cautiously navigating your way up a crooked set of stairs will lead you to a first floor workshop and to Kanti, one of our longest standing friendships.
Kanti and his brother Nalim are from a family of tailors from North India, his father started the family business and the two brothers have been making jackets, trousers and denim in the same building for over thirty years since. David Keyte (UW cofounder and designer) has known Kanti and his brother Nalim for twenty five years, since his first ascension of the crooked steps when working for a large UK designer brand. David quickly realised that the talkative and enthusiastic Kanti knew a huge amount about denim, and still to this day teaches us new things. His love for denim and workwear garments is unquestionable and he is always full of stories or new ideas about garments he is thinking up.
Not much has changed since they first met 25 years ago, the workshop still makes garments with their rugged and simple machinery and kanti is still telling his stories. There are a lot less people sewing on the shop floor these days though, with just five people left making garments for us and a few other brands who still value the skill and have the time to work closely with the team.
With the connection between Universal Works and Kanti spanning twenty five years, the team at HQ always look forward to an afternoon working with him. Watch out for his cups of tea though as they are the strongest you will ever taste, although David thinks the tea is almost as enjoyable as seeing Universal Works garments come down the same stairs he walked up so long ago.