The subject of today’s Textual Conversations is David Keyte the power behind the genius Menswear Brand, Universal Works, whose primary principle is to produce a well made, easy to wear and affordable collection for men who want contemporary clothes, but understand tradition and looking good without trying too hard.
Based around and understanding of classic working clothes, of the workshop and the office, but with a modern slant on fit and shape. The collections have David’s signature throughout and show his love of craft and a feeling that someone cared about making this piece of clothing. The garments have a “lived in” and “ my old favourite” feel. Detailing of the pieces are often quirky and off beat and all garments are designed to stand-alone and function well.
If you could have invented anything what would it be ?
The instant translation app, I travel a lot and have crap language skills, I am convinced the world would be a better place if we could all understand each other more.
Probably working too many hours and not spending more time with my family and friends, but really I try to live without regrets, or at least I would if it was my last day for sure.
What inspires you ?
Everything! – well a few things would be; the way old guys dress in too many layers, mixing checks and pattern in a totally mad way. Hikers on long walks in the Peak District, my Dad and his brothers work wear but also getting dressed for a night out when I was a kid. British clothing history, modern Japan.
Icon is such a big word, I am not sure I have a style icon really, its normally used about celebrity and I really don’t care much for celebrity, I have a few favorites dresses for sure, Brian Ferry in the seventies, Michael Stipe most of the time, David Byre in his talking Head days, Joe Strummer any time ever, shit they are all musicians maybe I am in the wrong business !
I think my icons would be more in the world of politics, ecology or science, you know, important stuff, clothing is just for fun.
What piece of style advise do you live by ?
Dress for yourself, be yourself always
How did you get into the industry ?
I convinced Paul Smith to let me work for him, when I did not really have the experience or training, he took a chance on me, I spent my early years working for Paul and it was a great time to learn the about the industry from one of the best guys in the british clothing industry, I owe him a huge debt he was a great guy to learn from.
I bought a pair of red wing boots on a snowy day in New York and they still murder my feet 2 years later,
Maybe I was not cut out for the lumberjack look! ( if this gets printed then; sorry Mr Red Wing, I am sure it is my feet not your boots!)