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Jacket Required: British buyers descend for final day but remain “cautious”

Exhibitors noted a strong turnout from UK buyers on the second day of Jacket Required, but the retailers remained “cautious” with demand shifting from heritage looks to sportswear-led trends.

Now in its seventh edition, the premium menswear trade show ran at London’s Truman Brewery from July 30-31.

While day one attracted a strong international contingent, with buyers from as far afield as Australia and South Africa, the final day today (July 31) saw a higher British turnout, with major players including Asos and Harvey Nichols having sent representatives.

Benn McGregor, co-founder of premium street label Sons, highlighted the quality of buyers to have visited his stand: “We’ve seen Dover Street Market, Harrods, Selfridges and Urban Outfitters today. When it comes to the UK market, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Chris Dent, co-founder of agency Cocoon Partners, was exhibiting Australian menswear label RM Williams and boot brand Red Wing at the show. He agreed the second day was devoted primarily to wooing domestic buyers. “Our business has been from UK independents and department stores. We had a quiet morning, but we’ve opened new accounts for RM Williams this afternoon,” he said.

Jacket Required co-founder Craig Ford told Drapers he was “very happy” with attendance on the second day. But he said buyers were careful in their choices. “They’ve been cautious. People say they want new things, but the percentage of new products ordered is small.”

He added this edition marked a shift in trends in the menswear market. “The appetite for heritage is depreciating. I’m increasingly seeing more sportswear orders at the show.”

He confirmed the next edition of Jacket Required in January 2015 is likely to be larger. “It will be more of the same in terms of the feel of the show, but I think we’ll expand slightly,” he said.

The trade show has expanded by around 10% since its last edition, with 220 exhibitors, up from 197 in January. 

Several exhibitors noted the high temperatures at the venue as the sun shone across London, but Dent added: “The organisers are looking after us well – they’ve handed out free water and used fans to cool things down.”


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