The menswear agent and Jacket Required co-founder tells Ian Wright about the show’s future ambitions.
We hear expansion plans are afoot at Jacket Required – what’s happening?
There is an additional space within Victoria House that up until now was not available to us. It is the old Bloomsbury Ballroom, which is a sublime wood-panelled ballroom with an art deco mirrored bar room. It will allow us to up the floor space by 10,000 sq ft and about 35 to 40 additional brands, which is great as we have had to turn exhibitors away previously – although we are fast approaching capacity for this next event.
What are the plans for future shows beyond the February edition?
There is a new venue in the pipeline which is a stone’s throw from Victoria House. It is a vast space on several floors and means, if we need to, we can open up Jacket Required to a host of new exhibitors as we will have the space and the right location.
Why the ‘invitation only’ policy?
Craig and myself have both shown brands from our agencies regularly at other shows over the years and, at some, you actually end up having people there trying to hard sell us, as exhibitors, all manner of different things we really don’t need or want. The focus on dealing with buyers at trade shows was starting to decline and we wanted to ensure exhibitors at Jacket Required get to see only the best buyers and press. Some shows were all about volume of people through the door and not concerned with whether these visitors were relevant to the brands on show.
It had to be taken back to the basic requirement of being at a show to write orders and we feel, at Jacket Required, we are achieving just that.
Who do you think are Jacket Required’s competitors, both here and abroad?
We admire what Pitti [Uomo ] does in the beautiful city and surroundings of Florence. It would be amazing to have a venue like that in London and be able to reach the same high standards, season in and season out, that it has set.
If you could sign up one brand for Jacket Required that you don’t currently have, which would it be?
I couldn’t say just one as there are a host we’d love to have. On saying that though, we are unbelievably proud of the brand mix we have and feel it’s a true reflection of what’s going on at the top end of menswear.
What are your views on high street fashion?
It is necessary and fast becoming more accepted within the menswear market. However, I’m hugely opposed to the sort of retailers that prosper from using sweat shops and cheap labour. They know who they are.
How do you switch off after a hard day at work?
Tending to the carrots, cabbages and cauliflowers in my allotment. My prize-winning broad beans are a sight to behold.
Whose personal style do you admire?
My father’s. He was always the best-dressed and most stylish man in any room.
What’s the most extravagant thing you’ve bought but never worn?
Diego Maradona’s football boots at a charity auction.