U Clothing, a new fashion label launched in London and Los Angeles in 2010, has unveiled its inaugural menswear and womenswear collection for Spring/Summer 2012. Describing itself as ‘a new everyday wardrobe of luxury streetwear’, U Clothing (which stands for Universal Clothing Company) was founded by Rafal Antos and Don-Alvin Adegeest, the brand’s Creative and Managing Directors respectively. Antos previously designed for Gap Europe and Giorgio Armani mainline and oversees all areas of design and creative direction, whereas Adegeest honed his managerial skills at LVMH where he was involved in launching Marc by Marc Jacobs in Europe.
The debut collection reflects an appreciation of sports and street wear, and resorts to classic shapes to translate a casual attitude. Designed to be a range of everyday wearable pieces, it features deconstructed shirting, French Terry staples, jerseys and utility-inspired separates. The silhouette is contoured, yet relaxed, and subtly styled with mixed fabrics such as a dobby texture body mixed with a micro check collar.
Garments include a classic Oxford button-down shirt that has been cut, sewn and re-cut to incorporate twisted seams and top stitching, and oversized t-shirts with accentuated ribs that play on tone and blocking. Stripes are a dominant feature and colours are washed as if they have been heavily used and subject to sun light. Texture is achieved by reversing fabrics, such as the inversed sleeves on a hoodie or sweatshirt. The apparent simplicity and practicality of workwear contrasts with a few sophisticated details that The Style Examiner found interesting, such as the use of gold and silver zippers, top stitching and pocket placements. When it came to individual pieces, The Style Examiner’s favourite garments included a French terry cotton hoodie with leather sleeves, an asymmetric zip sweatshirt, and a washed denim twill blazer with patch pockets.
U Clothing claims that its ethos is to create an everyday wardrobe of modern, desirable pieces with fabrics made in Europe as sustainably as possible, and the overall production is intended to be well thought-out at all levels: from design to execution, from sourcing to manufacturing. However, The Style Examiner finds that U Clothing’s first collection offers a range of basic essentials such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, shirts, shorts, and trousers that can be matched by many other international companies. The label’s focus on sustainability or attention to detail in production should not be communicated as unique selling points; in essence, these are ideal ways to produce fashion that many other brands have also been using. The Style Examiner sees this collection as a competent first start but thinks that U Clothing should dare to be more adventurous and explore inventive cuts and patterns. We look forward to witnessing the brand’s design progress.