As you might know by now, we’ve made some jackets and trousers with Universal Works. This stuff goes online on Thursday morn, but until then, we thought we’d ask Steve (from here), and David (from Universal Works) for their thoughts on each other and some musings on the... er... ‘collaborative process’.
Some of this might seem a bit like a big ol’ group embrace, but isn’t that what collaborations are?
Steve on Universal Works
We knew David years ago cos he was working at another clothing company doing their production, and he explained that he was setting something up. We were on-board from the first season. At the time when he started, what he was producing was super relevant – French worker jackets, chinos and shirts – but it’s been interesting to see the development of how it’s changed and adapted.
Even though he still makes the same items, it’s just worn in a different way with sports gear, running shoes and canvas pumps. What he’s done there is quite interesting. I think we’re on the same page as him when it comes to that simple, easy menswear stuff.
It’s funny that we’ve done a collaboration with him based on two of the most classic things that he’s done. They’re just easy to wear. When we do collaborations with people, we like the item in the first place. Say that Bakers Overshirt… we don’t really want to change it or turn it into something else. We don’t want to put massive Oi Polloi branding on it, because it’s not our jacket to change. We just do something subtle. We’ve changed up the fabric colours and added poppers instead of buttons to make it look a little more sport, but they’re just minor tweaks.
It’s the same as when we do trainer collaborations, we don’t want to make a new version of something, we’re just trying to make a very good version of that thing. It’s as simple as that really. We should have done a mink jacket shouldn’t we?
David on Oi Polloi
I was working for a company and I came to see Steve and Nigel to sell them some jeans and I remember walking away thinking, “Those guys really know their shit.” It was very soon after that that I decided I was going to make my own stuff. When I was putting my first collection together, I remember thinking, “Will those two guys like this?”
I wanted to make something that was just for Oi Polloi. It’s nice to do special projects – it’s fun –otherwise, you kind of end up doing the same thing all the time. I really like things that are collaborative. I like when people do stuff like repairing an old jacket – I think it’s brilliant.
Oi Polloi took one of our best selling items, and made an improvement. They put a little closure on the cuff, and what a great idea? That’s through wearing it, and thinking, “If only it did that.”
It’s a genuine design change, that’s only for them. And that’s great. And I hope lots of people ask us for it so we can say, “You can’t have it, you’ve got to get it from Oi Polloi.”
The Universal Works Oi Polloi stuff goes online at exactly 10:00 on Thursday the 13th of April (GMT).