It has often been said that fashion is a fickle master, constantly changing and reinventing itself in fresh guises and forms in an insatiable quest for the new-and-now. The rapid pace of evolution in the industry means that designers seek and absorb creative sustenance from a plethora of sources. In an increasingly globalised world where nations thousands of miles apart both culturally and geographically are brought ever-closer, it seems only fitting that inspiration for art and design concepts is shared across the four corners of the globe.
Tribal was a look first seen in women’s collections several seasons back, and has since developed into a fully-fledged trend on the menswear scene. With masculine clothing traditionally an assemblage of lacklustre monochrome and solid-hued separates, the introduction of vibrant indigenous elements is a refreshing change from the norm. Whilst not suggesting that the urban men of the west don full Maasai warrior costume (dashing as it may be), a hint of tribal motif can be an easy way to spruce up your winter wardrobe.
For AW12, quirky modern British label Universal Works offers a smart salute to the tribal trend in the form of its vibrant ikat shirt. In a rich claret tone, punctuated with an orange, white and red ikat print, this piece is guaranteed to enrich your seasonal colour palette.
An Indonesian word in origin, ‘ikat’ describes the traditional patterned fabrics associated with various native cultures of the Far East and South America. These patterns vary greatly according to their geographical and cultural origin, but tend to consist of intricate arrangements of bright, geometric motifs produced using traditional weaving or dyeing techniques.
Established in 2008 by former Paul Smith hand, David Keyte, Universal Works strives to produce garments of exceptional quality with a superb fit. Often reinventing classic British utility forms with a modern edge, the label’s sartorial formula offers a selection of wearable separates and outerwear that have their design roots firmly in tradition, yet are innately contemporary and stylish.
A highlight of the AW12 collection, the ikat shirt stands out with its subtle nod to a dominant trend, but remains considered enough to be worn year-round and beyond the confines of a seasonal fad. Eye-catching, yet masculine and refined, it’s the perfect piece to exhibit your inner style warrior.
Universal Works’ claret ikat cotton shirt is available from my-wardrobe.com priced at £109.