On my recent visit to London, one of the around half a dozen destinations on my list was the Universal Works shop. While a few places now stock Universal Works garments (such as Urban Outfitters, various left field and trendy menswear shops, and even a few of the online-only clothes shops), there is only the one dedicated Universal Works shop. I guess you could call it their flagship store, though that seems a grand term for what is in fact a very cosy and compact little shop on Lambs Conduit Street. This street also has other interesting shops, such as Folk and Oliver Spencer, so it can be a worthwhile trip for more than one reason.
Universal Works has been around since their first collection in the autumn of 2009 and make some nice stuff, quite subtle, a lot of it workwear inspired, both for the monochrome men and those that dare use dashes of colour. I like a lot of their garments, but had never bought more than a couple of shirts on sale before. Oh, and two pairs of their wool socks, great stuff. There will be a larger profile on Universal Works soon in my “Label to watch” series soon.
I found their shop though and was immediately greeted by David, who runs the shop. This was a superb first impression, as David was really friendly, helpful and chatty. This made a refreshing change from some of the other places I visited on my trip, where the shop staff were almost too cool to talk. Shopkeepers, if you’re running a shop you need staff that can talk to customers, leave the posing for the models! Just saying…
The shop is well laid out, nicely designed, and what I take is the full range of this seasons UW garments. A fuller range than their online shop as well, as the waistcoat I mention further down isn’t available in the online shop. Have a look at their website for a fuller view of their range. For me, what works best are the shirts, trousers, jackets and socks. I’m not so taken in by the knitwear and overly colourful items. I think maybe the Northern miners look works better for me than than the Northern soul look? 🙂 They do cater to a wide range of tastes, so there is something for everyone, and it is certainly all well made and will last. And as we all know, it’s good thing to pay more for to buy properly made quality garments.
I’ll admit, being a sale-hound, I was hoping they’d still have the sale on, and there would still be a Harris Tweed (a fetish of mine) Bakers Jacket on sale in the shop, but I missed that by a few days. I was curious about their sizing though, so I tried on the nice-looking Ferryman jacket in various sizes so as to get a feel for the UW sizing. Nice workwear inspired jacket, with good detailing and a very fair price:
Having got an idea how they were sizewise, I noticed a cool waistcoat (fetish number 2, they saw me coming) and decided to try that on. I’ve long had thing for buying clothes too large for me, but David talked me down a size, which was very helpful. Great fitting waistcoat, so I decided to get that. And of course, the waistcoat matched the Ferryman jacket, so having been a good boy so far on this trip, I got that one as well. These two will work together, or as seperates. A canny buy. Even at full price I thought these were a decent deal. 85 for the waitcoat and 120 for the jacket. I can think of another brand where these prices would be x3 at least.
Anyhow, after a good chat with David (and he was in fact the second person to comment on my Cameraman jacket, obviously a guy that takes an interest in clothing), I moved on. I can easily see myself buying more from Universal Works in the future, full credit for that is thanks to David, the shopkeeper. And the other David, the designer and owner, for ensuring Universal Works are continuing to make proper, decent menswear.
Universal Works website
Universal Works on Facebook (worth following, David frequently posts inspiring garment combinations)
Universal Works on Twitter