Thursday, 28 July 2011

Introducing... Jacket Required

Over the lifetime of the blog I've covered a number of menswear tradeshows and have clocked up more airmiles than posts in the process. I've perused Paris' double offering of (capsule) and Rendezvous, wandered in wonder at Florence's Pitti Uomo and burrowed deep in to Berlin's Bread&Butter to name but a few. As cities across the continent have grown and evolved a number of well attended tradeshows, London has sadly lurked in the shadows and been left lacking. Thankfully, three well respected names synonymous with London menswear have united to fill the void. Born from a collaborative idea between Mark Batista, Andrew Parfitt and Craig Ford, Jacket Required is a welcome response to the increasing demand amongst international and domestic buyers for a dedicated under-one-roof destination during the real buying season.

Over the weekend of the seventh and eighth of August, Jacket Required will take over the Rochelle School and will feature over thirty five brands. The list is a drool inducing mix of established and emerging labels including familiar favourites such as Pointer, Penfield, Garbstore and Chapman Bags, US brands including anything, Gourmet and Raleigh Denim who will also be showing alongside Japanese brands such as Bedwin and The Heartbreakers who have been persuaded to show in Europe for the very first time. With the momentous weekend approaches, we caught up with trio of minds behind the show to discuss it in more detail...

JacketRequired-Mark,Craig, Andrew
Jacket Required's Mark Batista, Craig Ford and Andrew Parfitt.

SS: What were your inspirations, your dreams, and the driving catalyst behind Jacket Required?
Jacket Required: Going to all the fantastic shows around the world and realising a huge need for something of the same standard in London. We all had a common belief that London was lacking and greatly deserved a credible and relevant men's tradeshow to reflect the strength of what is happening in the UK market right now. London fashion is fantastic at the moment and the UK has some amazing stores, some don't travel abroad so now they can get the same experience at Jacket Required.

SS: How did the three of you come together for this project?
Jacket Required: We all knew each other personally and what each of us were doing in the UK market. After a discussion over a couple of pints one night, we found that we were on the same page within our views and set about launching Jacket Required.

SS: Can you tell us a bit about the dynamic that exists between you?
Jacket Required: Between the three of us, we are all able to bring our individual strengths and experience to the show.

SS: What does Jacket Required mean to each of you?
Jacket Required: A coming together of like minded sought after brands, retailers and individuals to offer an appropriate setting for business to be conducted.

SS: For us, Jacket Required is a much needed and fitting drive to renew the credibility of trade shows in our corner of the world. In your opinion, why has London been left in the shadows of the menswear buying season in recent years?
Jacket Required: Following the demise of TBC, buyers have just got used to going abroad to the shows as nothing else replaced it. The likes of Berlin, Paris and Florence became even stronger in their offering of men's brands and with the quality of store buyers that attended these European shows constantly improving, London was left behind and became irrelevant, both in the minds of international and domestic brands and retailers. With our relationships in the industry, every brand we approached could see where we were coming from in striving to put London back on the circuit.

SS: How have you approached Jacket Required to differentiate it from tradeshows across the continent and beyond?
Jacket Required: Between the three of us, we have been to every men's show that has been showing SS2012 collections and whilst there is an amazing selection of brands at all of these shows, there seems to be no surprises. We have strived to offer new labels in to the UK/European market that have either never shown in Europe before, or in some cases, have never shown anywhere in the world before. We have a long list of world exclusives at jacket Required that will not have been seen at any trade show until now. At Jacket Required we will always work in this way p keep sourcing emerging collections but also strike a balance with proven winners.

SS: How has the reaction been from brands, buyers and press alike been?
Jacket Required: Unbelievable! Everyone I have spoken to is really excited about the whole project. The goodwill and positivity has been really overwhelming.

SS: The list of participating brands is a drool inducing mix of established and emerging labels. Is there anything that you are particularly excited to show?
Jacket Required: We collectively believe in the formula to a successful and interesting (for buyers) show is to have a combination of cutting edge and exclusive yet proven, credible money makers available. We are one hundred per cent excited and proud to have every brand in the show and do not feel we have compromised in any way. It is a great line up and we thank everyone for their support.

SS: What attracted you to the Rochelle School?
Jacket Required: We initially had a three thousand square feet gallery on Redchurch Street which fell through but this proved to be a blessing in disguise as it led us to find Rochelle School (a redeveloped Victorian Junior School) just around the corner. The whole area is a huge inspiration and will continue to be over the next few years, especially in menswear. We believe the location and its surroundings will be an added bonus for the buyers and press that attend.

SS: Finally, how do you see the tradeshow developing over the next couple of seasons and beyond?
Jacket Required: We are looking to double the amount of exhibitors for the AW2012 exhibition and beyond that, we will just take it one show at a time. In saying that, we already have lots of interest from brands who want to sign up for the second show so we will certainly grow, the main thing is ensuring that the right balance is struck.

During the build up to Jacket Required we will speak to a number of our favourite brands and will preview their SS12 collections.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Great brand list.


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