New brands, new areas and a new market – Drapers rounds up the news and views from the latest edition of Jacket Required.
Although unlucky for some, the 13th edition of menswear trade event Jacket Required on 26-27 July at the Old Truman Brewery in east London had a buzzy atmosphere, despite the dismal drizzly weather. A busier first day led into a lacklustre second, but there was a positive response across the board, thanks in part to its tweaked layout and new additions.
This season, the 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 Asos, 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 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. 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, contributing to refreshing the feel of the show – a smart addition by the organisers.
Jacket Required also upped the ante on additional experiential elements for its spring 18 edition, after trying them out last season. The headliner was an exhibition of vintage football shirts called The Art of the Football Shirt, and an “In Talks” panel discussion related to this. A busy area was also allocated to new London consignment store Presented By, which sells rare trainers and clothing.
The big question: What do you think of the Jacket Required refresh?
Sarah Johnson, owner, McQueen in Manchester
The layout is much easier and it’s really good to see men’s and women’s wear together. 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 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.
Jonathan Matthew, commercial director, Solillas
We’re primarily a womenswear brand, so the addition of womenswear was the reason we decided to come. We used to do Pure, and this is the first season we’ve done Jacket instead. Even this morning we’ve had two big womenswear buyers on the stand, which is great. The curation and adjacency is really well thought through here and the new layout is much less confusing than it was before.
Rachel Bamborough, UK south account manager, Cat Footwear
The addition of womenswear was definitely a deciding factor in coming here. All the women’s brands are placed really well within the other brands. 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.
Ben Lima, international sales, 17 London
I prefer the new layout: it makes it much easier for buyers, which obviously is good for the brands. Womenswear is a nice addition, as are the events. Trade shows are getting harder and harder. The Paris shows were deserted when we were last there and there does need to be a new angle. Then again, trade shows need to be about the product and, with the set-up how it is, Jacket makes sure that’s the case. I’d rather have shows like this than what Bread and Butter used to be – it has to be all about the product.
Holly Hilden, founder, Vibes Agency
Changing the layout is a good idea – it freshens everything up. The addition of womenswear has also been long overdue. Now is a really good time to do it and is really great for the UK market. Lots of great brands do men’s and women’s wear but don’t really have anywhere to show the womenswear at the moment. We’ve even seen womenswear-specific buyers here, such as Anthropologie, which is a good sign.
Paul Fletcher, founder, Northern Arrow sales agency
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.