Denim Demon at Jacket Required
Denim Demon at Jacket Required

16 Feb. 2012


The London tradeshow circuit was particularly happening this season. Margin (February 13-14) was abuzz with birthday excitement, as the show turned 10 this season. Over the course of the past decade, it has established itself as the given destination for start-up labels with limited budgets. “It's overwhelming to think that 10 years has already flown by so quickly, but it's gratifying to know we've helped so many labels launch in London that would otherwise not have been able to afford to exhibit at any other trade event,” said founder and organizer, Odysseas Constantine.

Cold Method
Cold Method

Among the Anniversary edition’s highlights were Physical Novel’s engineered collection of trousers; and the activewear-inspired range by Thom Will Love, which encompassed paneled leggings for girls and brightly colored sweaters for boys. Japanese womenswear label Slow Dance also impressed with its innovatively cut pieces and uninhibited fusion of materials that spanned stonewash denim, cotton jersey, lurex stripe and printed silk sateen. Equally notable was Sila’s womenswear line, which has been re-introduced to the European market after a long spell of absence. The fall/winter 2012 range is marked by the same offbeat cool aesthetic associated with Silas’s menswear, but with a slightly more luxurious edge.

Pure Spirit's (February 12-14) return to Olympia made sense, as it complements the main showcase Spirit’s direction is decidedly young and feminine, but while there’s an abundance of pretty dresses on show, casual denim collections by labels such as Pepe Jeans and Ltb are also accommodated for. "Pure Spirit is well suited for boutique buyers in particular, as it brings together all the products they need under one roof without creating an overwhelming atmosphere," said Ltb’s sales executive Baiba Grosbarde.

New names making their Pure Spirit debut included Pop Boutique-which presented its increasingly popular retro-inspired range alongside a smattering of up-cycled vintage pieces. Quirky footwear label Irregular Choice, meanwhile, launched a full line of womenswear to accompany its playful shoe range.

Silas at Margin
Silas at Margin

Housed at the Business Design Centre in Islington for the first time, menswear show Stitch (February 12-13) embarked on its fifth outing to date. The exhibitor list encompassed about 80 names, ranging from established brands including Firetrap, Mustang Jeans and Onitsuka Tiger to emerging labels such as Bantum, Myison and knitwear designer Am Golhar. Classic menswear offerings were also present courtesy of contenders such as Claudio Lugli and Knighsbridge Neckwear. Diversity is not necessarily a bad thing, but the plethora served up at Stitch this season failed to convey a cohesive concept, which made for quite a fragmented experience.

Since its launch last season, menswear show Jacket Required (February 12-13) has trebled in size, which saw the AW12 edition offer up the wares of some100 brands, mostly of the independent sort. The fair advocates an unpretentious format devoid of clichéd elements- there wasn’t a graffiti artist or frenetic DJ in sight. With the precisely edited crop of collections in focus, the highlights were many. Drawing on archive styles and giving them a modern makeover, the newly launched knitwear range by the heritage sporting goods purveyor William Fox&Sons is bound to find its way into some respectable retailers. Other noteworthy labels were Vanishing Elephant-Australia’s answer to APC, if you will- and Swedish player Denim Demon, which demonstrated that its talent extends well beyond jeans by presenting an accomplished selection of knits, shirts and sweats featuring attention to detail worthy of the most scrupulous craftsman.

On the accessories and footwear front, labels such as Pointer, Filson, and newcomers Stighlorgan and Ohw! set the tone, while sartorial elements were provided by the likes of Mr Start and Japanese cult name Edifice, which incidentally made its global trade show debut at Jacket Required this season.

Edifice Team
Edifice Team

Jacket Required is undoubtedly a show to be reckoned with, and it is bound to expand further. How will the concept develop?  “We aim to grow organically, keeping the original aesthetic. While we haven’t started out with a master plan to expand, we’ve been approached by more and more likeminded brands, which has made our job easier,” said Mark Batista, one of the organizers of the show (the other two being Andrew Parfitt and Craig Ford). “The aim of the show is not to present just one style, but to cover all areas of the industry; from all aspects of apparel and through to tailoring, men’s grooming, footwear, luggage, books, electronics, and accessories.”

The trade show climate is saturated and tough for other reasons, but with the arrival of Jacket Requited, London might well be back on the map.
Emma Holmqvist

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