Universal Works' Ltd. Store is here - a project of exclusives and firsts with one of our favourite labels, and something we could not be more excited about. We’ve worked with many brands in our project space over the years but we’ve never collaborated with a label to the extent where they’re designing exclusive pieces and branding for the space. Not only that, in reflection of our different retail departments, David and Steph (Universal Works' co-founders) also went and produced womenswear and homewares designs in addition to menswear, marking the label’s first offering beyond menswear. All of it, a cause for major celebration. So that’s what we did.
With the paintwork dry and the last spot vinyl in place, Rob hit the decks, Laurie, Amy and Alice set up bar and we welcomed the first of many guests that evening (including super star of the night, Cosmo the dog). We drank (super nice shorts, courtesy of Bruichladdich and The Botanist Gin; even better for the rosemary Alice nabbed from her mum’s garden and the tonic and ginger ale brought buy a lovely chap called Barry). We chatted (David, Steph, Martin and Jamie from Universal Works meeting many of our lovely customers). We shopped (a lot, and sold out of some sizes). And then, tired and happy, we shut up shop, went for a curry and toasted Ltd. Store and the very wonderful David and Steph who made it all happen. Cheers guys!
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.
Ltd. Store | an exclusive collaboration between universal works & the hambledon | 9 september - 8 october
This is happening and we could not be more excited about it; a project of exclusives and firsts with one of our favourite labels. Opening on 9th September, Ltd. Store will be housed within our in-store project space, and will stock exclusive garments, designed specifically for the project by Universal Works. Perhaps most excitingly, the project will reflect our different retail departments and feature both womenswear and homeware designs in addition to menswear, marking Universal Works’ first offering beyond menswear.
The project is set to open with a launch party on the evening of Friday 8 September, 6-9pm, sponsored by Bruichladdich and The Botanist Gin. David Keyte (Universal Works’ co-founder, director and designer) will be in attendance and The Hambledon’s menswear buyer Rob Adams will delve into his vinyl collection and DJ the event while guests will be have the chance to view the Ltd. Store collection with a £10 voucher to use against purchases over £50. All welcome, no need to RSVP, we look forward to seeing you there.
The magical world of Meri Meri: it’s been a source of much happiness over the past few years, stocking their partywares and hosting the brand in our project space; always fun, bright and cheerful, and always super exciting to see what they come out with next. So as you can imagine, the anticipation was running high when we discovered they were turning their attention to homewares and we’d be stocking the whole range in our latest Meri Meri project.
Organic cotton bedding featuring coral spots and neon stitching; blankets covered in constellations, rainbows and stripes; thick quilts and storage baskets decorated with pom-poms; knitted cats, dogs, mermaids and unicorns for cushions; and garlands, many, many garlands, bunting and dreamcatchers; all of it here in our project space until 23 July, and even more gorgeous than we could have imagined.
What’s more, to mark the occasion we have a bundle of the bedding worth £250 to give away for one lucky little guy or gal's bedroom. For the chance to win, simply follow the link below and enter your details. Best of luck!
We had an inkling we were in for something quite special upon Meri Meri’s return to our Project Space, but wow. Stef and her team from Meri Meri HQ arrived on Tuesday, and here we are with the results of two full days spent transforming the window and mezzanine level.
We don't think we’ve ever seen a brand make the space their own quite so completely. It’s like walking into Meri Meri wonderland and we absolutely love it. Boughs of blossom, garlands of stars, mermaids and dream-catchers, rainbows and unicorns; colour, fun and gorgeous stuff everywhere you look. Plus a beautifully made bed to crash in when it all gets a bit too much.
Yes, we have a bed in the shop window, made up with Meri Meri’s new organic bedding range and cushions. We’ve got their storage baskets and soft toys, bunting and dream-catchers, totes and purses, badges and clothes patches, plus even more on the stationery and party front (including their Meri Meri Liberty collaboration).
Highly, highly tempting at every turn. Here until Sunday 23 July.
We love working with this brand and they consistently come up with the goods so there was never any question over inviting them back for a second stint in our project space, this time launching their SS17 menswear and womenswear collections.
The lovely Tom, who looks after their UK sales and marketing, arrived on Friday to set up and talk us through the season. Four rails of clothes and a flat-lay of accessories later, the space effortlessly transformed into a perfectly clean and simple presentation of Norse Projects SS17. And with that it was time to open it up to Winchester's Norse Projects fans for a special Friday evening gathering. Boys and girls, young and old, it was typically Danish and relaxed in style. We sampled some Danish pale ales, swiped some Norse socks from a lucky dip, and had a closer look at what the rails had in store.
As always, Norse Projects are sticklers for good fabrics and this season is a real highlight. There's lots of Japanese and French expertise here; for the guys, a double layered popover shirt, breathable hemp t-shirts, mercerized cotton tops and inside-out sweaters; and for the girls, a true indigo short-sleeved denim dress and proper PrimaLoft collarless jacket. They've also collaborated with Elka again on a really great men's and women's raincoat. And we are loving the Rothko-inspired pastels.
It's all here until 18 April, and to mark the ocassion we have a bundle of their iconic accessories to giveaway. Just follow the link below to enter.
Here it is. Our first project of 2017 and we’re playing newsagent. True to form, shelves are lined with nothing you can find in WHSmiths - and we have brown paper bags, Picnic bars and Polos.
Whatever your passion or pleasing we’ve gathered the most cool, most obscure and most inspiring reads from around the globe. Everyone from brewers and anglers to denim geeks and dog lovers will find their people among these pages.
Newsstand is here until 5 March. Come and have a read at your leisure. And watch this space for features and interviews on some of our favourite titles.
Read all about it. The project space is playing newsagent as its first get-up of 2017. Shelves lined with nothing in WHSmiths. Just all the obscure, beautiful, inspiring, hard-to-lay-your-hands-on titles we love. And plenty of time to browse them at leisure. Newsstand is here 20 January - 5 March.
It goes without saying that Christmas is a huge deal at The Hambledon and we embrace it heartedly. To the extent that several members of staff have multiple trees to accommodate varying decorative schemes. And they might need one more this year because our Christmas shop is open and it’s more fun, colourful and kitsch than ever before.
The tree is decked with a sparkly, neon-trimmed menagerie: winter hares in velvet collars; racoons carrying tres; birds wearing earmuffs; glittery swans, polar bears, bambis and parrots; dogs from Scotties to corgis, and for cat lovers out there (we hear you!), we're introducing your furry friends encased in beautiful glass globes. We’ve also thrown metallic rainbows, unicorns and pineapples into the mix for good measure.
Cards, wrap, advent calendars, crackers, garlands and balloons come courtesy of Meri Meri so the profusion of glitter, neon and fun continues; the foil balloon garland reading 'jolly' saying it all really. Let the festivities begin.
Here it is: the Patagonia Project Space, a shop in shop we’re housing in our Winchester store for the next five weeks; something we are absolutely delighted and chuffed about having worked with the brand in menswear for several seasons now.
We love the clothes. We love the ethos, to 'build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis'. And we especially love founder Yvon Chouinard and his whole intrepid thing. (We wrote more about him over here in case you’re interested.)
Expect the return of perennial favourites; Down Sweater (a jacket, not a sweater), Down Hoodie (it has a hood, yes, but it's a jacket), Down Shirt (a jacket, not a shirt) and the supremely waterproof and breathable Torrentshell Jacket. We’ll also be introducing Ts, sweats, fleeces, headgear and luggage. And for the first time, key pieces from the women's collection (the Down sweater and hoodie, as well as Nano puffas and vests).
All here until mid-October, so every excuse to get kitted up for winter. And in the meantime, all eyes on our Facebook page for the chance to win a down jacket and runner-up prizes.