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Successful debut for Paris menswear trade show Resident Showroom

Jacket Required co-founders launch new menswear trade show in Paris, drawing in a crowd of influential buyers from around the world.

Resident showroom autumn 17 (2)

Resident showroom autumn 17 (2)

There were high expectations ahead of the debut edition of Resident Showroom, the new-format menswear trade event, which ran last week on January 17-22 in a frosty Paris. But the intimate event, hidden in a leafy courtyard in the bustling Bastille area of the city, certainly impressed and drew in large numbers of menswear’s top-level buying elite.

Those expectations were partly because of the reputation of the team behind the new event: co-founders Mark Batista, owner of agency Brand Progression, and Craig Ford, owner of agency A Number of Names, who founded London menswear trade show Jacket Required, joined up with Edwin Europe brand director Pierre Boiselle to launch Resident Showroom.

Would Batista and Ford pull off something similar to what they achieved with Jacket Required, which quickly became a key date on the menswear schedule and grew exponentially in size? Would this be Jacket Required 2.0 – the French version?

There was also interest in the new platform for several other reasons. First because it comes at a time when much of the industry is questioning the relevance and importance of trade shows. So some view this as unusual, interesting or outright odd to add yet another show to buyers’ already packed schedules, timed to run alongside Paris’s other trade shows Man and Capsule, as well as the city’s official Fashion Week catwalk collections and showroom period.

It is safe to say that Resident Showroom lived up to those expectations, ticking off many requirements of a great new trade event.

For its first edition the show brought together a tightly focused mix of nearly 40 international brands in a small and neatly kitted out space, and several people praised the venue for creating a relaxed and intimate atmosphere.

Brands ranged from Billionaire Boys Club and Edwin, through to smaller and niche labels, new launches making their trade show debuts and interesting collaborations, such as a new line by Barbour and Danish streetwear label Wood Wood. This presented an exciting mix, with lots of newness and an impressive international selection.

And buyers arrived in their droves, some of them shuttled between the various other show locations by special Resident Showrooms chauffeur driven cars. Exhibitors spoke of their “wish list” of top-tier buyers all making an appearance, from Japan’s United Arrows to Paris’s Colette, alongside the UK’s most influential names such as End, Oi Polloi and Goodhood.

For those who attended the earliest Jacket Required events in London it was easy to see similarities. But what was most interesting and new here was Resident Showroom’s claims to offering a new concept – opening for three days as a private appointment-only showroom, and then opening its doors from January 20-22 as more classic trade show. On the whole, exhibitors declared this as success and a “breath of fresh air”, although one did suggest the showroom element might be better timed after the open trade show days to allow buyers to return post trade show for one on one appointments.

Mood of the show

Craig Ford, co-founder, Resident Showroom

It’s been brilliant. We’ve had a brilliant response from brands and buyers. After the first day alone most of the brands told me they would want to come again and we have signed most of the brands up for next season already. We’ve also had brands coming from other trade shows to ask to be in the next edition. We targeted the top-tier international buyers. Brands and buyers have been really positive about the space, and people like the intimacy of a smaller space, as it means they can actually speak to people and connect with them. For next season we still plan to keep things small, we had a waiting list of brands for this season, but we want to keep it small and focused.”

Gordon Lawrie, national account manager, Barbour

We’re here showing our new collaboration collection with Danish brand Wood Wood. It’s the first time Barbour has shown in Paris. The show has been really busy – lots of UK, Japanese and Italian buyers, even Russians. They’ve come from all over. It has also been a really good level of quality of buyers too – all the people I would have put on the wish list that I wanted to see. There are great adjacencies with a strong and interesting mix of brands. We’ve picked up new doors and people have been writing orders here, which has never happened for me at a trade show before. It has been busy because the show is new and everyone is interested to see what its like, but I think it will maintain the interest because it’s so strong. It’s in a nice part of Paris, it’s a nice size and has a really nice atmosphere.

Kestin Hare, founder, Kestin Hare

This has been an amazing show and a real breathe of fresh air. The idea of having a private showroom before the open trade show is really great and worked well. Although it might be better if the showroom was after the trade show part rather than before, then people can come back after they’ve seen the collection first. Buyers from French department store Printemps arrived as soon as the show opened on day one, which was great. All the buyers have been that top level. We would definitely do the show again. There are great brands here and everyone has been having a great time. Any new show gets lots of attention from buyers but this has the quality to back it up. All feedback I’ve heard has been really positive.

Daniel Dunko, founder, Hancock

We weren’t really sure what to expect from this show, but it has been very good. The show was open for three days for appointments only and that was busy, and the showcase itself has also been good and busy. We don’t show in any of the other Paris shows, but we’ve been showing at Pitti Uomo in Florence for 20 years. The mix of brands, as well as the overall tone of the show looked very good, which is what attracted us to it. There have been a lot of international buyers, a lot of Japanese buyers and European, but not many from the US.

Bryan York, general manager, MC Overalls

This is our first time at a trade show but we’ve had a really amazing reaction. I’ve seen some really good stores like End, Goodhood and Oi Polloi from the UK, but even buyers from Colette were here and some good indie stores from Japan. We wanted to show here because it’s a new start up and we wanted to support it and thought the showroom-come-trade show set up was a cool concept. We’ve written orders so it’s been a great success and it’s been fun too.

James Mitchell, wholesale account manager, Edwin

The show has been really good. It’s good to be able to bring our customers over to a new environment, and it’s a good opportunity for us to meet international buyers. We’ve seen a lot of our existing customers, but we have also spoken to new stores and new clients.

This is a much better format for a show I think, the brands are much more focused. Big shows can group brands together so they all become the same, but here there’s a lot more room to breathe. It’s been consistently busy, and there have been really good buyers and really good stores – all the right people have been here.

The trade show format needed refreshing to be honest. When Bread & Butter closed and the brands moved to Seek it became much too big. This is very relaxed, and it’s good to see a new concept for shows.

Paul David Rollman, creative director, Airbag Craftworks

The show is really nicely focused and there is a really comfortable atmosphere. All the details are on point, even little things like there being a lot of mirrors around, and the fittings are nice – functional and nicely designed.

The filtering of the buyers is very high level, which is great. I think this show has a very good future. There is a really unique mix of brands here. Some of our favourite brands are showing here, there is a really good portfolio and a strong concept. There’s much more of an atmosphere here than other shows, and it’s a really good space. It’s nice to see some more mysterious brands on the list as well, which are good to discover. The stand is quite small, and there’s not a lot of space – but I think that means you have to be more focused.”

Arjun Tatla, brand manager, Labrun

As it is new we’ve just been feeling it out really. But it’s been a good one to join. It’s nice and calm, and you can actually speak to buyers rather than being overwhelmed, as you can be at other trade shows. There’s a good mix of buyers and we see a lot of people that don’t necessarily come to London, like Colette, Storm Copenhagen, as well as the likes of Hostem and Mr Porter from the UK. I’m pretty sure the show will increase, people will want to be part of it. It’s a very different atmosphere here to other shows, it’s less manic and you’re not too squeezed in with other brands”

Tetsuya Iizuka, creative director, Buddy

It’s been busy which is very good. We’ve seen customers from the UK and around Europe too and they’ve all been very good buyers. The mix of brands here is very good. With places like Capsule there are sometimes brands that are not as good. Here the brands are much more curated – a good street mix.

Manuel Canova, founder, IMJit 35020

The show has attracted a large number of buyers. I’ve spoken to people from all over the world. Mostly the UK, but also US, Japan, Korea and France, of course. We’re here because we want to try and find new customers, and introduce the brand to more buyers but no other trade show was really right for us. It’s our first time showing in Paris but I think it has gone really well.

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