Karhu x Universal Works - "Inversion Illusion"

Universal Works have come together with legendary Finnish sportswear brand Karhu for a collaborative project, part of their ongoing Future Friendship series. This meeting of minds celebrates Karhu’s heritage and the UW philosophy of working with like-minded partners who share their authentic vision of peace, love and, in this case - sole!

The iconic Karhu M-logo has been used throughout the collection, but flipped on the lateral side of the shoes to make the ‘W’ in Universal Works - the first time Karhu has done this in it’s 107 year history.The origins of the "M" stem from the word ‘Mestari’ - the Finnish word for ‘champion’. We're sure you'll agree that feeling like a winner in the clothes and shoes you're wearing is never a bad thing.

Speaking to UW co-founder David Keyte about the collaboration, he said,

"Karhu is a brand that holds an integral place in the history and progression of modern sportswear, and this rich heritage has always intrigued me. In the case of Karhu, the evolution of the company's branding, which has taken many twists and turns along the way, is a fascinating story, and it's something we've very much played with in our collaborative project. Like most great partnerships, the two brands were already connected via mutual friends in the industry, so working together felt completely natural."

Speaking about how both brands came together to create the collection, Remko Nouws, Global Brand Manager of Karhu commented, 

“Initially, we wanted to collaborate with Universal Works on two colours of the Trampas, a Karhu training shoe from the 1960s, that fits that never ‘over-designed’ philosophy of Universal Works. With David’s love for running in mind, we proposed to change one of the Trampas colours to another running classic, one of Karhu’s most famous silhouettes, the Mestari. In this case, we changed the design to a bigger blown out sole unit to be inline with the contemporary style of Universal Works, a design change that David felt strongly about. This was the moment that the Mestari Control was born, the final result looks incredible!

When it came to the branding, we turned our M-logo on the lateral side of both shoes upside down, to create a ‘W’ referring to Universal Works. This is something Karhu has never done in its 107 years existence, but felt like a true fit for the Future Friendship Project. Overall, we are so excited about this project and we can’t wait for it to be on the feet of Universal Works and Karhu fans, friends and family!”
The collection features re-imagined versions of the classic Mestari and Trampas footwear styles in supersoft suede and nylon, as well as a compact clothing capsule that includes a bunch of super easy-to-wear sporty separates. A muted colour palette keeps the collaboration feeling unified. Keeping to a Navy, Ecru and Khaki vibe guarantees these pieces will be easily integrated into existing wardrobes.