The introduction of womenswear brands, a layout rethink and additional experiential elements created a buoyant and refreshing start to the London trade show’s 13th edition.
Although unlucky for some, the 13th edition of menswear trade event Jacket Required kicked off on Thursday 26 July at the Old Truman Brewery in east London with a buzzy atmosphere, despite London’s dismal drizzly weather. There was a positive response across the board, thanks in part to its tweaked layout and new additions.
This season, the traditionally menswear-focused show added a womenswear element for the first time. It was a subtle addition: brands displayed womenswear product alongside their usual menswear offer – focusing mostly on casualwear styles – and none showed only womenswear product.
Independent buyers looking for both men’s and women’s products were spotted, including teams from McQueen in Manchester, Our Daily Edit in Brighton and London’s The Mercantile. Buyers from womenswear-only stores were also reportedly in attendance, including teams from Asos and Anthropologie.
“Womenswear was a natural progression for the show as it’s very relevant for our market,” Jacket Required event director Alice Elliott told Drapers. “Brands were asking for it and we’ve been talking about it for a while. We introduced it as part of the core show – menswear brands showing their womenswear elements. Maybe we’ll look to add a dedicated womenswear space in the future.”
A fresh layout created a new path through the show, guiding visitors around the halls in a way that meant footfall passed through every area of the exhibition, which Elliott said “works much better” for both visitors and exhibitors. New rooms within the venue were also used, while cafe spaces were moved around and additional seating areas were added. This all contributed to refreshing the feel of the show – a smart move by the organisers.
Jacket Required also upped the ante on additional experiential elements for its spring 18 edition, following a foray into these last season. The headliner was an exhibition of vintage football shirts called The Art of the Football Shirt, which was connected to the trade show space and open to the public for the duration of the event. An “In Talks” panel discussion related to this is also set to take place on day two.
An busy area was also allocated to new London consignment store Presented By, which sells rare trainers and clothing. It included a vending machine-style game stocked with prizes that proved very popular with visitors.
“We think it’s good to provide something extra for the buyers. It just add a little more interest to the overall event, but is also very relevant to our visitors,” said Elliott.
Mood of the show
Sarah Johnson Owner, McQueen in Manchester
The layout is much easier this year and it’s really good to see menswear and womenswear together. I’ve spoken to loads of brands who are keen to get their women’s lines in here as well. The women’s brands are all in among the men’s brands, which is nice as you can see how they sit with the men’s. I wouldn’t organise my store like that, but it gives a sense of branding. I like that they’re branching out into exhibitions and art. I feel like Jacket has a bit more kudos when it comes to that kind of thing – they’re driven by passion rather than money.
Holly Hilden Founder, Vibes Agency
I’ve seen lots of familiar faces, but new ones too. This is such a good place to meet buyers in a relaxed environment. I’ve even met new stores who have never been to Jacket Required before, so that’s a great sign.
Changing the layout is a good idea – it freshens everything up. The addition of womenswear has also been long overdue, and now is a really good time to do it and is really great for the UK market. Lots of great brands do menswear and womenswear, but don’t really have anywhere to show the womenswear at the moment. We’ve even seen womenswear-specific buyers, such as Anthropologie, which is a good sign.
Paul Fletcher Founder, Northern Arrow sales agency
Jacket Required has been good so far – the usual who’s who of London and the UK. I wrote orders in the first couple of hours – our new brands have had a great response. I think adding womenswear is good. It just makes the show stronger and gives more people a reason to come. The overall quality seems to have jumped up. The football shirts exhibition is really cool, too. It all brings a different angle to the trade show, and brings interest above just being a standard wholesale event. The extra elements are great.
Dylan Chadha Brand manager, Hymn
It’s been really good. They’ve changed the layout, so we’re keen to see how it plays out, but it feel like it makes sense – it directs the flow of people a little more. We mainly see independent retailers here: it’s a good opportunity to see the UK indies as they don’t tend to travel to the international shows any more. We were at Seek in Berlin and Pitti Uomo in Florence as well, but this is the key UK show for us.
Marc Querol Marketing manager, DH Agency
We’re in a better position than we were last season and people have been responding really well. Spring shows are always slower, as lots of people are on holiday, but this is better than the past spring shows, I think. For us, being here is a mix of marketing and small orders, and is an opportunity to increase the amount of people who know about the different projects we’re doing. I think the exhibition and extra elements are good – it brings a sense that this is a different kind of show. The buyers don’t really go, but it gives the show a much cooler feel. It’s something different.
Rachel Bamborough UK south sccount manager, CAT footwear
The addition of womenswear was definitely a deciding factor in coming here, and it was a last-minute decision to bring the womenswear collection.
It’s been a quiet morning, but we have a glorious location here, so we’re very happy. It’s a really good time for heritage brands and we’re surrounded by a good mix of brands here. Coming means we can target a wider market with the collection – one we don’t see at other trade shows such as Moda, where we used to show. This also has a much more relaxed feel than other trade shows, which is nice. Jacket is really great for forward-looking trends.
Having talks and exhibitions brings a nice, different element to the show. It would be nice to have something like a catwalk, which adds a really visual element as well.