United Overalls: Made in the UK
Some days it seems that every few minutes a new denim brand is born, claiming to be offering something new, something revolutionary. Whilst some of these brands do produce great jeans that are made from high quality materials, others are often a reincarnation of the classic Levi’s 5 pocket jean (1947 501 anybody?). Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it would be nice to see something that’s different, something that takes hints of history but creates its own path. Enter: United Overalls
London resident Thomas Burke wanted to make a jean in the UK. He reminisces about the UK’s manufacturing prowess in years past and wanted to reinvigorate that spark through his favorite fabric. Sure, that doesn’t sound so different I hear you cry. There are already jeans on the market which are made in the UK? You’d be right, but the real kicker is that alongside UK production, the denim is woven in the UK. Constructed from 14oz Hewitt Heritage selvedge denim which is woven on looms in Lancashire, the ED-1 is produced in a shrink-to-fit fabric cut and sewn by Blackhorse Lane Ateliers. Hewitt Heritage is currently the UK’s only denim mill and United Overalls are committed to using UK woven denim now and for all future releases. Blackhorse Lane Atelier of course has become a name synonymous with quality UK manufacturing and known for their high quality denim tailoring.
Thomas is no stranger to the denim world as you may have guessed, and he’s done his research. He wanted to create a jean that would be comparable to the finest Japanese heritage brands, be functional and practical for life in ‘The Big Smoke’ (London), as well as being entirely produced in the UK. Referencing early Twentieth Century workwear, the ED-1 includes a single piece selvedge fly, a cotton and linen patch woven by Bysshe Partnership in Lancashire with hand stamped branding, WWII style laurel wreath buttons, crotch rivet, solid copper rivets, arcuate design incorporating the infamous British ‘Broad Arrow’ mark and belt loops sewn into the waistband. True to turn of the century jeans (or ‘waist overalls’ as they were known at the time), the ED-1 has a high rise but a tapered fit through the leg for a more contemporary silhouette. The pocket bags of the jeans are made from a thick canvas and large enough to hold the biggest smart phones.
Sustainability and environmental impact was also a concern for Thomas, who wanted to ensure that the manufacturing process and end product were as conscious as they could be. This included no water treatment used in the production of the ED-1 and no plastics to be included in the finished product. Thomas also supported local UK production houses as mentioned above, helping to contribute to the local economy and livelihood of workers in these factories and ateliers. Two years in development, it’s evident that United Overalls in a labour of love. Thomas set out with a goal to make his perfect jean and it’s he’s done just that. But he’s also brought a unique product to market and supported UK manufacturing from start to finish. In a world filled with mass production and more garments going to land fill each year, United Overalls has been built to last, to go against the grain of throwaway culture, to take historical cues but keep looking forward. Bravo, Thomas!