Spring-Summer 2023 Fabric Guide.

Fabric is where the design process starts for us, and we take pride in sourcing the very best fabrics from across the world for our collections. With this in mind, we are pleased to share our latest guide giving you all the fabric-related info you need to make a well-informed purchase this season. For those who don’t know their warp from weft, we’ve provided some light hearted descriptions to make it all a little easier to digest, alongside the obligatory nerdy info we all secretly enjoy!

For SS23 we’re combining textural fabrications with vivid pops of summer colour; incorporating technical fabrics with an underlying, considered use of recycled, organic and sustainable raw materials. As always, we’re ticking all of the UW signature credentials with fine Twills, crisp Poplins, and trusty Oxfords in appropriately spring-fresh colourways and much much more. Enjoy!



At Universal Works, we say the party hasn’t started until Tech Silk Fabrica walks through the door - and it's easy to see why. This’ll put the cherry on your cake, the olive in your martini. It’s upmarket, it’s interesting, it starts the day with a cold water swim - in short, it’s the fabric everyone wants to know. A colourful, classy cocktail of 85% Polyester, 8% Silk, 7% Cotton it was created by a renowned Italian mill. Nostalgic, modern and technically brilliant, their weaving expertise is worth every penny. Unsurpassable quality makes it shall we say, a bit more special than our usual UW everyday cloths - so it’s not one to wear for your lunchtime kick-about in the office car park. You’ve been warned!
Fabric Composition: 85% Polyester, 8% Silk, 7% Cotton.
Fabric Weight: 180g/m2.



There’s something inherently tough-guy about Ripstop Nylon. It’s the fully trained Marine of all fabrics. Nothing (and we mean NOTHING) steps in its way. Made by a renowned fabric maker, in Italy, this water-resistant 93% Polyamide 7% Polyurethane is testament to the expertise of this mill, which has been at the forefront of technical fabric innovation for 100 years.
Fabric Composition: 93% Polyamide 7% Polyurethane.
Fabric Weight: 115g/m2.



UW founder David Keyte can vouch for the fact that Chambray’s been in the top ten fabric charts for a long, long time. “I’ve seen photos of Elvis as a boy - and guess what - he’s wearing Chambray!”. If it’s good enough for The King, it's definitely good enough for us. Made from 100% cotton, blue chambray is always reminiscent of summers past (and present). With its subtle, two-tone appearance, it’s woven like denim - with pale ecru and dark indigo threads, twisted together to create the iconic dual-coloured surface texture we’re all familiar with. Like all good things - it gets better (and better) with age; every wash softens the cloth and brings out its unique workwear character. It’s hard-wearing, breathable, comfortable and cool.
Fabric Composition: 100% Cotton.
Fabric Weight: 165g/m2.



Waffling on about the brilliance of Hemp seems to be a real Summer 2023 hobby of ours - but the truth is, we can’t get enough of the stuff. Seen here in a 97% Organic (fancy!) Cotton and 3% Hemp mix, the Cotton Hemp Waffle is a mystical cloth with strong temperature telepathy skills. Feeling hot under the collar - it knows. A brisk chill on the chest - it’s a warming hug. The textile history books tell us it was used in undergarments for most of the last century (or two) and we understand why. Great worn next to the skin but equally good as an extra layer. It’s comfy, cosy and definitely cool. Thanks to the Hemp inclusion, it’s also a little kinder to the planet than your average mid-weight cotton jersey. An all round team player.
Fabric Composition: 97% Organic Cotton 3% Hemp.
Fabric Weight: 250g/m2.



A really tasty meal needs high quality ingredients - and the same goes for the fibres intertwined for this super special Lord Cotton Linen. A perfectly balanced 5-course tasting menu, this knockout cloth will never hit the specials board (because we all know why things end up on there). Masterminded by our friends in Italy, this easy, stylish summer fabric is made from a marbled blend of 36% Cotton, 35% Viscose, 15% Linen, 10% Acrylic and 4% Other Fibres. Entirely upcycled, the Cotton/Linen hybrid makes it feel amazing next to the skin during the warm summer days - and nights. With an unusual and unique surface texture, it stands out from the crowd - some might even say its ‘Lording it up’. We’d agree.
Fabric Composition: 36% Cotton, 35% Viscose, 15% Linen, 10% Arcylic 4% Other Fibres.
Fabric Weight: 230g/m2.



Gone fishin’ takes on a whole new meaning when we’ve got a knockout piece of Herringbone Denim hooked on the end of the line. This mid-weight 100% cotton cloth takes its name from the chevron-type weave – or an inverted V-shape, for all the angle pedants out there. Constructed to resemble the backbone of the humble (but omega 3 boosting) herring, this breathable fabric is more commonly seen in tailoring. But as you’d expect, UW have been digging around the vintage archives and taken this one back to WWII instead, where it was a robust favourite with the G.I.’s. Like all good denim, it starts off sturdy and softens over time, fading in all the right places to give it a surface texture unique to you.
Fabric Composition: 100% Cotton.
Fabric Weight: 6.5oz.



There’s no arguing with a Fine Twill. It does exactly what it says on the tin (or the care label). Made from 100% Cotton, this classic fine weave is created from premium Cotton yarn to guarantee you a garment that feels lightweight and lasts for yonks. Twill has always been a familiar face on the UW scene (every collection has it in some form or other) so we know you’re familiar with the construction. Ideal for chinos or jackets, the Summer 23 version is slightly lighter than the usual - like it’s been doing that 5:2 fasting diet. Far from a standard twill, it feels smooth and clean to the touch. Far from just a fad, we reckon it’s going to be a new season favourite.
Fabric Composition: 100% Cotton.
Fabric Weight: 155g/m2.



A spritz of tradition combined with body regulating weaving techniques - that’s the USP of the Fine Wool Check, folks. Made from 100% superfine Merino (the king of wools), this clever so-and-so actually helps to keep you cool when the weather’s going balmy. The reason? Two-fold really: Firstly it’s mega lightweight (so much so you’ll need concrete sandals to stop yourself floating) and secondly, it’s those long staple fibres that keep things feeling fine to the touch. With a classy windowpane check, this would be a top notch choice for a wedding - and just FYI, UW Founder David Keyte says he’ll happily attend the ceremony if you choose to wear this one for yours.
Fabric Composition: 100% Wool.
Fabric Weight: 147g/m2.



Sometimes, bigger does mean better – especially when it comes to Delos Cotton. This is seersucker on steroids, flexing the fibres to give a texture that looks like a hybrid of waffle on one side and bubble wrap on the other (we can guarantee you’ve never seen anything like it before). Made in Portugal from 100% Cotton, it’s surprisingly lightweight and crisp to the touch. Breathable, beefy and bloody good looking, it’ll keep you Jack Kerouac cool on sizzling summer days, and age just as well as his beat generation literature has. Be sure to pack one of the UW shirts made from it for your next road trip – no iron required.
Fabric Composition: 100% Cotton.
Fabric Weight: 155g/m2.



We’ve said it before - and we’ll say it again. Things are always more laid back when Hemp gets involved. No longer on the naughty step, this future-proofed, hardy cloth thrives without the use of pesticides or fertilisers (unlike the diva-esque cotton - but we’re not going there today). This particular version has been woven in Portugal from a brilliant blend of 52% Cotton 48% Hemp with an Oxford construction. For the fabric specialists out there, this gives the fabric a snazzy, practical edge and means it sits slightly proud of the skin to help you stay feeling cool when it gets sweaty out. With a very (very) subtle sheen, the Hemp Cotton Mix looks a tad futuristic and comes with zero public health warnings.
Fabric Composition: 52% Cotton, 48% Hemp.
Fabric Weight: 215g/m2.



Here comes the sun! Or rather - here comes the Hokkoh Print for Summer 2023 - and heaven knows, we need it. After many a winter of discontent, Universal Works puts self care at the top of the seasonal agenda, by bringing you this absolute banger of a print. Sunflowers. Butterflies and big, bold African inspired energy, it’s a print packed with Peace, Love and plenty of Soul. Made in Japan from 100% premium Cotton, this lightweight poplin has a clean, fresh handfeel guaranteed to keep you feelin’ breezy. Designed to make you the star of the show (or the family BBQ) the Hokkoh Print won’t be the first to leave the party. Explosively optimistic it’s the ideal antidote to dreary times.
Fabric Composition: 100% Cotton.
Fabric Weight: 210g/m2.



If a young Neil Young popped his head round the UW Design Studio door, he’d be chuffed to bits to see this 100% Cotton Seersucker hanging on the rail. Far from an old school classic, this iconic fabric is actually pretty technical. The ‘puckering’ isn’t just for show, it was an early 20th century invention that keeps the majority of the cloth sitting away from the skin. This means it’s naturally breathable and allows air to circulate freely between you and the garment. Every move you make wafts a cool fresh breeze to the parts that need it the most. Who can argue with that? At Universal Works, we call it cotton air conditioning.
Fabric Composition: 100% Cotton or 98% Cotton, 2% Elastane.
Fabric Weight: 145g/m2.



As tight as best friends at middle school, this weave knows how to stay close-knit. The Organic Fine Poplin has the trademark scrunch and crunch you’d expect from a cotton this crisp. Developed with Portuguese cotton supplier from 100% Organic Cotton woven at source in Asia, it’s lightweight and compact, with a clean, modern finish. Garment dyed for extra hue appeal, it’s the sort of cloth that ages brilliantly, getting better and better the more you wash it. A celebration of summer (and winter worn as a layer), it’s a UW favourite and always will be. A fabric you can rely on, it never forgets your birthday, opens doors for you and doesn’t tell the teacher you were smoking behind the bike sheds.
Fabric Composition: 100% Organic Cotton.
Fabric Weight: 115g/m2.



The showbiz of shirting, Organic Oxford knows which cutlery to use first at a formal dinner. Some call it posh, we call it perfect. Take a polished shoe stroll down the hall of former society greats, and you’ll see some serious Oxford Cotton in the wardrobe credits. James Dean. Paul Newman. Barack Obama. This ain’t no supporting role. Ours is made in Portugal from 100% Organic Cotton. An undisputed favourite, its signature subtle two-tone appearance is thanks to the intertwining of ecru + the overall colour yarns (a bit like denim). Invest in the best and you’ll never look back (or look scruffy).
Fabric Composition: 100% Organic Cotton.
Fabric Weight: 135g/m2.



Denim built for daydreaming, this lightweight 100% cotton version was developed with a talented bunch of artisan denim makers and indigo dyers in South India. Colour spectrum fans will already be aware that the word ‘indigo’ originates from the Persian term ‘Blue Dye of India’. An easier wear than traditional heavyweight denim, this cirrostratus + cirrocumulus hybrid is guaranteed to have you feeling fresh thanks to the reduced ounces. Modern and definitely robust, every metre of cloth is entirely unique - just like the blue skies above us, on a perfect summer’s day.
Fabric Composition: 100% Cotton.
Fabric Weight: 6oz.



Sometimes a sprinkling of good quality elastane fibres can really turn up the classy volume on something as timeless as cotton. For the Paper Touch Cotton, that’s precisely what we’ve done. With a microdose of 3% we’ve broadened the horizons of your everyday mid-weight cotton. Technically, it’s a super light but compact weave that has long (well trained) staple yarns that make it ideal as a summer chino cloth. Unlike the everyday twills and drills, this one has its own specifically modern resonance - a slight crunch if you will. On the feels side of things, there’s a sleekness that feels, shall we say, a little silky? It’s luxurious and robust. If it were a Beatle, it’d be George Harrison, during the handsome heydays of his solo days.
Fabric Composition: 97% Cotton, 3% Elastane.
Fabric Weight: 6oz.



We know we’re not supposed to have favourites, but this Tropical Suiting has really set pulses racing at UW HQ. Made from a magical mix of 55% Polyester and 45% Wool, this is the technical fabric you never knew existed. Mega lightweight with a springy handfeel, this is modern day elegance that doesn’t need an ongoing relationship with your ironing board. Woven by long time collaborators in nearby Portugal, the clever mix of traditional and innovative fibres means it’s an easy wear - even when it’s toasty outside. Clean, minimal and effortlessly cool, you could exchange your vows in it, or just bang it on with a t-shirt and head down the park for an ice-cream.
Fabric Composition: 55% Polyester, 45% Wool.
Fabric Weight: 160g/m2.



Imagine a fabric you could fly away in - literally. This parachute weight wonder-cloth was woven by our favourite mill in South Korea. Specialists in the super lightweight, water-resistant fibre game, we have sourced this 100% recycled Polyamide from them, and called it “Nylon Tech”, to give it a nickname as snappy as the fabric itself. It’s what shell-suits would have been made from - if only they had the sophistication. With a streetwise washed finish, it’s lighter than air, but surprisingly robust. Perfect for anything action related - summer shorts or a chuck-it-in-your-bag Parka..

Fabric Composition: 100% Recycled Polyamide.
Fabric Weight: 92g/m2.



We all know the danger zones the wrong print can put you in - where it wears you, rather than the other way round. Camo, however, is the original egalitarian version. Suits everyone, regardless of age, size, style or shape and always (and we mean always) looks cool. Loyal UW fans will have noticed the deliberate miss-spelling of the word Swedish. This is an ode to the fact that, rather than a facsimile of the OG Swedish Army Camo, our version is made by one of our favourite Japanese mills and pays homage to the original, making it more Shwed-ish than Swedish. Amazing angles and top notch humour aside, this one’s made from 100% Cotton in a mid-weight 250g plain weave. Cocktails or combat - it’s ready.
Fabric Composition: 100% Cotton.
Fabric Weight: 242g/m2.



Life’s a peach - with Summer Canvas. At Universal Works, a canvas weave has been used in every collection since the beginning. Our community can’t get enough of the stuff. This summer we use a medium-weight and easy to care for cotton canvas, so you don’t need a loyalty card for the local dry cleaners. Shove it in the washer with some non-bio detergent at 30 degrees, shake it out as soon as it’s done and give it a cool iron if you’ve got the time (or the inclination). It’ll never let you down. In the words of UW Founder, David Keyte, “We garment dye ours to give it a peachy soft finish and I can’t see us ever stopping using it. It’s one of those classic ‘workwear’ or ‘military’ fabrics that suits menswear because it’s utilitarian, robust and affordable. It might not be glamorous, but it does a great job – a bit like me really!”
Fabric Composition: 100% Cotton.
Fabric Weight: 242g/m2.



It might sound like the opening line of a nursery rhyme, but don’t be fooled people – this is a seriously grown up fabric. Thanks to its durability and rugged feel, 100% cotton hickory stripe denim has been a big part of the workwear conversation for centuries. Throughout history people have been turning to the humble hickory stripe when they need something hard wearing but with a bit of visual pizzazz, and boy, does it deliver! It’s your standard denim weave, but with a high contrast stripe, and like its non-striped counterpart it’s good for trousers, jackets – anything really.
Fabric Composition: 100% Cotton.



Anyone hoping for a delicious Eastern spin on an indulgent breakfast treat might be disappointed to hear we’re not serving this with bacon and maple syrup. Nevermind – we’ve got something better. This is your all-day breakfast, an open all-hours 100% cotton waffle delight, manufactured in Japan with a spot-on midweight and a super soft feel. Waffle has long been a favourite here at UW, thanks to its easy breezy wearability and its satisfying texture, and this super tasty, summer-ready fabric – made by one of Japan’s most respected mills – is no exception.
Fabric Composition: 100% Cotton.



Cast your mind back to primary school, when you’d spend afternoons with a bunch of pre-cut potatoes (safety first!) and some poster paint? Well that’s the basic premise behind hand block printing. Of course, proper hand block printing is a true art form, with no spuds involved whatsoever. Instead it makes use of intricately carved wooden blocks that are used to transfer ink onto fabric in elaborate designs, and it’s this age-old practice that inspires our Block Flower Twill. A lightweight 100% cotton twill, it features a repeating motif that can be found this season on jackets, chinos, shorts, and rave-ready bucket hats.
Fabric Composition: 100% Cotton.



It’s waffle Jim, but not as we know it. Made in Spain using pure 100% cotton, this season’s Barca Dobby fabric is waffle’s slick older brother. It’s technically a waffle weave, but where traditional waffle cottons have that tell-tale texture you can spot a mile off, the Barca Dobby is tightly woven and superfine. Get up close and all that lovely tactility is there, but from a few paces back it looks smooth, smart, and seriously sophisticated. All of which makes it perfect for a classic short sleeved polo shirt, with a neat three-button placket.
Fabric Composition: 100% Cotton.



If there’s anyone that takes pride in their produce, it’s the Italians. Whether we’re talking wine, olive oil, tomatoes or 70s disco music, they really go the distance. The same, of course, can be said for fabrics. This season we’ve used a bellissimo herringbone 100% cotton – woven specially for us in one of Italy’s best cotton mills. It drapes nicely thanks to the chunky weave, but is still plenty light enough for summer, and best of all each piece is garment dyed to really underline that laid back vibe which we all recognise as Italy’s biggest export.  
Fabric Composition: 100% Cotton.