With such a variety in the clothing industry, it's quite difficult to find brands that carry on a message saying more than just "buy our soulless T-shirt". A company in this industry has to survive all the hardships that inevitably come along - from finding its path to producing relevant garments, thinking about the environmental impact and most importantly staying true to its original roots as the world keeps spinning around. Here are four brands that are far from average, showing us what you can achieve with some will and love.
The company’s first collection launched in 2009 with David Keyte working from his kitchen table with an aim to make real, honest clothing based on fit and good design. Universal Works was inspired by David’s formative years growing up in a provincial Midlands town in the seventies, part of a working-class family that loved to dress well. Next, working as a sign-writers apprentice, whilst experiencing the development of eighties sporting and music subcultures. And finally a thirty-year span in the fashion industry. From Paul Smith to Maharishi he gained an education from and worked alongside some of the best in the industry. Universal Works is about the mixing of ideas; understanding heritage and context underpinned by contemporary needs and aesthetics. They produce garments in the right places, both in the UK and overseas, working only with factories they trust, admire and are proud to be associated with. The company also gives an opportunity to collaborate with amazing people from artists to writers and anyone in between, a process that inspires continual growth and education. Find their shirts and Harris Tweed Labour jackets in our shop.
Monitaly revitalizes classic American silhouettes through designer Yuki Matsuda’s unique vision since 1989. Standing on the shoulders of clothing artisans from the American past, they strive to both elevate once-casual garments and rejuvenate formal silhouettes through relentless re-evaluation and clever re-contextualization. Monitaly values its heritage but also understands that in order to break boundaries and create innovative products, they can’t just play by the rules of tradition. Fresh and exceptionally well-crafted garments blend sophisticated detailing with astute attention to fitting; proof that American craftsmanship mixed with worldly style lives on. Their ultimate goal is to create garments that will age beautifully and again be sought after some time in the distant future; clothes that are equally as distinctive and compelling today as they will be tomorrow. To that end, they endeavour to create garments for those who share the spirit of adventure and an obstinate drive for unique and fulfilling clothing. We would highly recommend their Raglan jacket for autumn and Riders coat for winter time.
Golden Bear Sportswear
Out of a small factory on Howard Street, Golden Bear Sportswear began in 1922, crafting dockworker coats for the longshoremen who hauled cargo up and out of San Francisco Bay, their sturdy leather collars upturned against the fog and the cold. By the 1940s, bomber jackets were added to the line, as customers sought the rugged style of the pilots who roared high above Europe. Twenty-five years down the line, you could find their fringed jackets on the backs of youngsters on Haight Street and sported by icons of the counterculture—the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. By the 1960s, Golden Bear had moved to Valencia Street. They started taking in worn jackets for repairs and dressed anyone interested in that timeless look of San Francisco. Varsity and motorcycle jackets joined the classic bombers and dockworker coats on the racks. Golden Bear jackets have become part of personal histories. Customers tell them stories all the time about the jackets they’ve treasured for ten or twenty years, even longer. The jackets get better with age. Each crease tells a story, every rough patch a memory. The people who wear them put in so much mileage that parting with one of our coats seems like losing a friend. As they say: "We’re proud to offer our legacy of durable, quality outerwear—coats that will last as long as we have".
The brand was born in Italy, in the south with the ocean in mind. Captain Santors is a project which began in 2014 from a need for reinterpreting the way Italians dress starting from roots, land and sea that surrounds them.
Heritage Collection consists of pieces that interpret the workwear for sailors, fishermen and sailing pioneers. Fabrics used are all from small family companies, selvedge denim and cotton made in Japan; Irish and Scottish wools; Italian and English cotton and hemp. The research on fabrics and patterns to be developed is done in shipyards and international vintage stores, in order to recuperate and revisit ever iconic seafaring clothing. Research, slow gestures, tailoring, fine fabrics and handmade bone buttons. A small production full of passion, values and Italian tailoring tradition. The result is a contemporary heritage work style very popular in USA, Europe and the East. Their durable wool and cotton waistcoats are out of this world.
Pictures: Universal Works x Uncle Otis / Monitaly / Golden Bear Sportswear / Captain Santors