The autumn 14 edition of Jacket Required was a real turning point, despite the weather and a Tube strike doing its best to discourage visitors.
Launched in March 2011, the menswear fair has since been bought by trade show organiser ITE Moda and seen some rapid expansion.
While maintaining its somewhat exclusive invite-only approach, this season’s show, which ran from February 5-6, moved to a vast new east London location, adding a further 55 stands and pushing the exhibitor list to 210 brands, up 60 on last season.
When I asked one buyer his thoughts on the show, he replied: “It feels like a foreign trade show.”
Is that a bad thing? “Well, no, it’s a good thing I suppose. Now we’ve got a proper show here in London.”
And this buyer is right; Jacket Required now feels like a proper menswear show. The buzz in and around it was great. Credible UK buyers from as far apart as Aberdeen and Cornwall were in attendance, alongside a promisingly growing gaggle of international names.
This season’s inflated brand list almost always stuck with the show’s ethos of top-quality and well-edited names - quite a task considering the now significant number of them, stretching from luxury outerwear to new directional streetwear names. Asos buyer Tim Williams even said he wouldn’t be surprised if some buyers cut trips to foreign shows now that London has something of such quality.
It’s great that a London menswear show, with its raft of British brands, could become a must-visit on the global calendar, rivalling the likes of Seek, Man and Capsule in mainland Europe.
If Jacket Required carefully continues its balance of growth and top-quality brands, I don’t see why this won’t happen.