Exhibitors were feeling confident after a strong start to the eighth edition of Jacket Required, with a steady stream of UK and international buyers working their way through the two floors of the Old Truman Brewery on the first morning of the show.
Brands commented that the east London show is growing in importance as UK buyers are looking closer to home for sourcing trips, and is benefitting from fresh enthusiasm in the menswear industry.
More than 230 exhibitors were showcasing over 270 collections for the autumn 15 season from February 4-5, with increased numbers from Japan and North America, such as Japanese sock brand Chup, Japanese bag and accessories brand Porter and Canadian jeans brand Naked & Famous Denim, making their debut this season.
James Hall, sales manager at outerwear brand Gloverall, said: “There is a good atmosphere building up and we have high expectations for this show. We’re finding that we used to see a lot of British buyers in Berlin, but now we see more here.”
“I think local trade fairs are more relevant now because UK buyers are being a bit smarter with their budgets,” said Mark Thorpe, UK and Ireland sales manager of footwear brand Palladium. “The mood in the menswear industry is pretty good at the moment and I think it is starting to recover.”
Zen Tsujimoto, international sales manager for Chup brand owner Glen Clyde, said: “We’ve had a really good reaction and ever since the doors opened, we’ve been really busy. The UK is a good market for us and growing.”
Adam Scotland, sales manager from Out of Step agency, was presenting streetwear labels Huf, The Hundreds and Brixton for the first time at the show. He said: “It’s really busy, more so than we expected actually. We’ve been following Jacket for a while and I think it has got a lot more of a streetwear focus recently. It’s providing the opportunity to see some stores that wouldn’t come to us directly.”
Gant Rugger was exhibiting for the first time in its own right this season, having previously been part of a group stand. Steven Kelly, head of wholesale, said: “There are early signs that it is going to be a really good show. We’ve seen a few key buyers that we don’t already deal with already and at this stage, around 20% of who we’ve spoken to have been from outside of the UK. As a brand platform, this is a good show for us.”
Mark Bedford, owner of Leeds-based menswear independent The Chimp Store, said: “There’s a wider spectrum of brands here this year, with more streetwear, footwear and accessories. I’ve seen a couple of new brands I didn’t know of as well as some good, new ranges from people we already deal with.”