Jacket Required is shining a positive light on the UK menswear industry and gaining an increasingly international following, brands and agents reported on the first morning of the trade show.
The show, held at Old Truman Brewery in east London from 29 to 30 July, expanded to 306 brands from just over 250 in February with a new space downstairs featuring brands including Birkenstock, FDMTL, Edwin, Nemen and Still by Hand.
“As a UK brand we want to have a really strong presence on our home turf, so this show is great,” said Jono Rayner, brand manager for contemporary menswear label Supremebeing.
Philip Marsh, managing director of Chatham, was exhibiting at the show for the first time to promote the brand’s new Made in Britain line of boat shoes. “Our new factory in Exeter is up and running now for spring 16 deliveries, so we’re here to meet buyers from the UK and overseas and there’s been a steady stream so far.”
“In the space downstairs we’ve tried to introduce [new] brands at the same level we’re known for, as well as some existing exhibitors,” said event director Alice Elliott. “Although we’ve expanded, we want to stay close to what Jacket Required is all about from streetwear through to heritage and contemporary smart-casual tailoring.”
Kevin Stone, founder of Stone Agencies, which represents menswear brands including Baracuta, said: “Buyers have been telling me that they wish the show was a bit longer because they are in London anyway at showroom appointments.
“For me, it comes a little late in the season, but others say the timing is good. I like that it is democratic and all about the product and it feels like there are more international buyers each season. We’ve seen Scandinavian and German buyers, as well as UK buyers from Bentalls and Liberty.”
Arjun Tatla, fashion wholesale manager at Sewn Agency, which represents brands including denim label Kings of Indigo, added: “There’s been a good turnout so far, and we’ve actually written some orders so things are looking good. We’ve seen buyers from independents Question Air and Attic, as well as some new faces from both here and outside the UK.”
Many said buyers were in a positive mood but cautious in their selections, as it still remains “tough out there”.
Simon Purchase, sales and marketing manager for Supremebeing, said: “I’d say there was reluctant optimism from buyers at the moment – they’re keeping it tight and don’t want to take too many risks.”
“Early discounting is becoming more of an issue and we’re trying to stay on top of it,” said James Mitchell, wholesale account manager for Edwin Europe. “We have really good relationships with the people we work with and we don’t want to grow our stockist base much from here; it’s more about having good accounts that buy deeper.”