The organisers of men’s shopping event Off The Rails (OTR) plan to extend the show to Manchester for autumn 15, after its debut in London last week.
The show, which took place from October 30 – November 2, brought together more than 70 classic and contemporary menswear brands across 7,534 sq ft of space at the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, east London.
“The show was fairly quiet on Thursday and Friday, but got busier over the weekend and we were pleased with the response we received,” said Peter Smith, sales manager at Savile Row tailor Richard Anderson.
The organisers decided to waive the entry fee of £12 part way through the show in response to feedback, with exhibitors commenting that footfall increased on Saturday and Sunday after a relatively slow start. The final number of visitors was 4,496 and the event will no longer charge for admission.
“We’ve been offering free personal shopping recommendations to showcase what we do in store,” said Laura Harvey, assistant manager of personal shopping at Topman.
Jonathan Rayner, brand manager at streetwear brand Supremebeing, said: “We have had a really positive reaction at the show, which is good for a first time event.”
Adam Atkinson, owner of premium bag and accessory label Cherchbi, said: “It is great to be alongside such a good line-up of established and emerging brands. We have launched a new collection of small leather goods, which has been well received.”
Designer John Lancaster presented his new clothing label Mono at OTR, which launched in January this year. He said: “Our designs are contemporary with a linear theme and focus on natural materials like wool, alpaca, eel skin and leather. It’s a good event to get us noticed as we start to look for the right stockists to work with.”
Show director Charlie Gardiner said on creating the event: “The menswear industry is booming in London and having visited London Collections: Men when it started, it occurred to me that there should be something similar for consumers where you could actually buy things.
“We wanted to create an event to showcase an edited selection of menswear brands, from streetwear to classic suiting, young companies and established labels, in a relaxed shopping environment. We added a bar, burgers, men’s grooming, and an art fair.”
He said: “We plan to do this again at the Old Truman Brewery in April for spring 15 and take it to Manchester [towards] the end of the year for autumn 15, running it alongside [the autumn 15 edition of] London.
“If things go well we are considering launching the event in places like Germany, Hong Kong and Australia within the next couple of years, too.”
Dale Hicks, managing director of the Manchester Fashion Network, said he thought the concept would work well in Manchester but warned that events which are successful in London do not always translate directly to the local market.
“The organisers need to do their research and try and engage local ambassadors such as brands, retailers and bloggers, and perhaps tailor the offering towards the Manchester market,” he explained.
He said the market for menswear in the city is as good as ever.
“There are some great brands coming out of Manchester from right across the price point, as well as a strong retail propositions and there is a well-informed and style conscious market here which makes it an ideal opportunity to launch something new.”