Jacket Required closed yesterday (July 30) with quieter footfall than on Wednesday, but having confirmed its attraction to multiple and independent buyers who no longer feel a strong pull to the Berlin fairs.
Most exhibitors declared themselves satisfied with the flow of visitors at the two-day contemporary menswear event, although some felt the show has grown too big for every collection to be reviewed properly.
The exhibitor list gathered at the Truman Brewery in east London grew from around 250 in February to 306 brands this season. It was also reconfigured with a new position for the entrance.
First-time exhibitor Alastair Gorrod, head of sales at footwear brands Frank Wright and Gola Classics, was pleased with the cross-section of buyers seen: “Asos, Zalando and Sole Trader have all been on and we have seen some of the more serious independent buyers. We even took a nice order from one of our big Czech stockists, which was unexpected. This is not like an old-school exhibition with heavy footfall. Those days are gone. It is what it is, but the mood is quite positive. The feel of it is definitely good because it is run by fashion people, not accountants.”
At Gibson London, one of the few tailoring suppliers on show among the jeans, T-shirts and sportswear, sales executive Simon Parr reported seeing plenty of Irish indies on the first day and opened with a new store in the Netherlands: “It was steady on Wednesday but when we added everything up, we’d had a good day. Thursday was a little quieter but we were still having good conversations.
“What is interesting is that people are spending, almost to the penny, exactly what they spent last season. They are still being careful.”
Among the majors spotted at the event were Mr Porter, JD and End, while Aspecto and Hip were among the premium independents.
On the lookout for commercial niche brands was Drapers Independents Award-winning retailer Guy Hudson from Lynx in Harrogate: “I am upbeat. We had a really good spring-summer and have come out looking very clean in the shop.
“There are a lot of shoes at this show, but then shoes are the new shirts for us, especially hybrid sneakers. As we don’t sell online, I am avoiding brands that do and I want to work with niche companies.
“After 12 years we have just severed our links with Paul Smith; while I was still trying to sell the collection at full-price they had 20% off and department stores had 55% off.”
Event director Alice Elliot told Drapers: “We’re very pleased. The new set-up worked well and added an extra energy. The new layout bought a flow so no one could miss brands. I’m happy we’ve kept the high standard of brands even though we’ve added around 30 new names.
“We’re trying to introduce more international brands and we are attracting more international buyers as we become a bigger, established name. The second day was slightly slower than the first, but it always is. More people just chose to come the first day as that was really busy. Visitor quality has been very strong.”