Universal Works has to be one of our favourite menswear labels; for their good quality, honest menswear, commitment to top-notch production, and because designer and co-founder David Keyte is one of the nicest guys in the industry. For all these reasons and more, we couldn’t be happier to welcome the label to our project space with Ltd. Store - a super exciting collab. featuring menswear, womenswear and homewares designed exclusively for the project. We took the opportunity to get David's take on it all.
This is a first for our project space; its own identity, branding and exclusive garments. How did the idea for Ltd. Store evolve?
Rob, The Hambledon's menswear buyer approached us to work on a pop up, and we liked the idea as we like the store a lot. We have done a series of Ltd. Stores, our own version of the pop up, in recent seasons; a couple in Tokyo, one in Paris, so why not Winchester! Each time we have made exclusive items and they have always been fun to work on and popular with the local customers.
Tell us a bit about the collection, its inspiration and references.
I based it all on one visit I made to a fabric supplier in Tokyo earlier this year. I had the Ltd. Store concept in mind for The Hambledon and bought a few really special fabrics, fabrics I thought would fit the store well, and work for both men and women. So they became the inspiration for the store merchandise; it's all about a crazy irregular spot print I found in Japan and and beautiful wool blend ripstop, a fabric that looks like old workwear but is more luxury.
Production values are hugely important to Universal Works. Where is the Ltd. Store collection made?
It all depends on the product itself really as we make in UK, Portugal and one supplier in India. The Ltd. Store special pieces were made in the sample room at our Indian supplier. Our Indian supplier has an amazing sample room and they make many of our trials and first pieces. They're also very good at making the fabrics we buy from Japan. At this facility we can make small numbers of very special pieces to a high quality. Weirdly, in our UK and Portuguese production we have to make greater numbers than we do in India.
Wherever we work, we are very keen to work with smaller suppliers as then we feel we have more control, but also a more positive impact. It means we really know the people who actually make, stich and knit our products. We try to have a very close relationship with everyone that makes anything with the Universal Works label in it. We want to make high quality product with people we like and respect; where were we know first-hand that our products are made by people who care about what they do and are paid properly, we don’t exploit anyone.
Finally, Ltd. Store stocks Universal Work’s first ever womenswear collection. How did the designs develop? Did the process differ?
Victoria had asked us before about some womens pieces and well, we just thought the time was right for this project and it felt truly collaborative as we could reach the entire Hambledon customer-base by including womenswear.
I can’t say we approached the design process any differently really. I guess my favourite womenswear is, and always has been, a sort of 'tomboy' look. Well, maybe not tomboy exactly, just not floaty, sexy, tight, glamorous style womenswear. I guess our vision is more unisex, more practical, more off-duty weekend wear. We have a couple of pieces that are solely womenswear - a dress and a shirt. We first made these styles a few seasons back, but only for Stephanie (my partner and co-owner of the company), as well as a few friends and supporters.
The dress is sort of based on a kimono. It doesn't look in any way like a kimono, it's more to do with the way the pattern was inspired; one size and just simple, straight cutting to achieve a relaxed fit. The shirt is an equally simple, if oversized fit, although it does come in sizes. The rest of the pieces are the same styles we make for men but refitted to make them work for women. We sell a lot to women already, they often just buy the smaller sizes and roll the cuffs on jackets and pants! Maybe it's long overdue as we have had many, many requests. Or maybe it will be a one off just for The Hambledon, let's see.
The Ltd. Store is open until 8 October, in-store and online.
We love cherries and we love cake, and right now we also have a thing for La Cerise sur le Gâteau, the beautiful French linen which, quite true to its name, is setting the tone for SS/17 in homewares. All washed out pastels and trails of gold polka dots. Here, founder Anne Hubert talks us through the La Cerise sur le Gâteau story and some of the highlights from the brand's Instagram feed.
Australian mum-of-two, Kate Berry, launched Lunch Lady blog back in 2013 after her daughter was bullied at school for eating a homemade packed lunch. Her aim was to inspire parents to make delicious lunches for their children and it proved a huge hit. Fast forward a few years and issue 5 of Lunch Lady magazine is currently sitting pretty on the shelves of our Newsstand project.
Choc full of great recipes, inspiring family stories, beautiful photography, art and cooking projects, as well as funny opinion pieces about the ups and downs of raising kids - it's one of our favourite new reads. Plus we're a bit in love with Kate's gorgeous Instagram feed, so we asked her to pick some favourite moments from life behind the scenes at Lunch Lady.
Soap & Paper is our go-to range for a bit of a pick-me-up, especially at this crazy time of year. Rummage behind any counter and you'll likely find a stash of their lovely hand cream or lip balm. Here we have a peek behind the scenes for a sprinkling of festive magic from NYC.
Former anthropology student, native of Montpellier, inveterate traveller, lover of Japan, William Eggleston fan; it's fair to say we're a bit taken with Emma François and the label she started back in 1997. Here's a closer look at the very lovely world of Sessun.
Currently resident in our project space, we’ve got a lot of time for this brand; their clothes, their ethos and especially their founder, "reluctant businessman" Yvon Chouinard. Here are some of words of widsom, taken from his book Let My People Go Surfing.
It's been a huge pleasure having Creighton's Chocolaterie in our project space this summer, not least because we've got to hang out (and sample the range, and decorate chocolate unicorns) with the lovely Lucy, founder of Creighton's. We took the opportunity to ask her to compile her wishlist of Hambledon wares.
1. Paris Candle £22.50 | 2. Cat Pouch £9 | 3. Little People Big Dream Frida Kahlo £9.99 | 4. Lion Headdress £13 | 5. Multicoloured Festoon Lights £39.95 | 6. The Gourmand No7 £12 | 7. Gold Glitter Alphabet Bunting £2.25 | 8. Fart Whistle £1.25
Stella Nova has been a first floor favourite for a good few years now so we're delighted to be collaborating with them on a window takeover and competition this season. To mark the occasion we talked to founder Trine Skoller about her work, inspiration and life at the helm of Stella Nova.
Describe your typical working day?
It can vary a lot depending on where in the process I am. Sometimes I travel to seek new inspiration or to visit suppliers, sometimes I am drawing the collection and other times we are preparing for sales meetings and PR events.
Who or what couldn't you work without?
My lovely Stella Team.
What do you like most about what you do?
I feel very privileged to do exactly the thing in life that I like the most – to be creative and to create is something that is very satisfying. Every day is a new challenge and that is something I like.
Who or what inspires you?
Everything can be an inspiration and it is difficult to seek inspiration in a specific way, meaning that the more you look for it the less you feel inspired. For me, inspiration can be from reading a book, watching a movie, travelling etc. It is not possible to pin out where and from what exactly it comes from.
Who would you most like to see wearing a Stella Nova design?
I don’t have any specific wish, but I think that there are many women who are inspiring. For me it is important that it is a woman with a strong personality.
What has been your proudest Stella Nova moment to date?
Luckily I often feel proud and that is what gives me the energy to keep developing the Stella Nova universe.
What has been the most important lesson learned?
Not to listen to my own intuition.
What would you like to do in the future?
The same as I do today and many other things.
And finally, tell us a bit about your favourite pieces from the AW16 collection?
The collection is amongst others inspired by the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. I very much like the prints of the collection and I think the scattered floral artwork is one of the key prints and in a nice way reminds me of a modern take on Frida Kahlo.
We have a collaboration with a Peruvian association where women hand knit the most beautiful alpaca knitwear. These styles are also very close to my heart, and I have been so lucky to visit them several times and I feel happy to see, that our collaboration makes a big difference for them.
The Stella Nova AW16 collection is now available in store.
It's fair to say we've grown very fond of working with Creighton’s Chocolaterie over the past few years. They're a small, family-run business, headed up by mother and daughter team, Andrea and Lucy, who are just lovely. Most of all though we love that they know how to have fun, especially in the serious wold of artisan chocolate. Currently providing much jollyness and temptation in our project space, we asked Lucy to pick some of her favourite moments creating “chocolate with a sense of humour” from the Creighton’s Instagram feed.
Founded in 2011 by surfing friends Andre Bastos Teixeira and Jose Miguel de Abreu, La Paz is a menswear collection from Portugal. The collection is in part a study of traditional clothing and production techniques but also a celebration of place. Classic marine styles are reinterpreted for a contemporary market and there's a real Atlantic feel in the colours and detailing. We asked Andre and Jose to give us a flavour of their enviable life in Porto with an Instagram edit.