London tradeshow Jacket Required’s 10th outing (2-4 Feb.) concluded on Thursday. And, boy, has it expanded since its inception 6 years ago. Some 300 brands gathered within the vast space of The Old Truman Brewery in London’s Shoreditch, making for an almost overwhelming experience. An extended selection of accessories and lifestyle products had been introduced – a wise move since the variation saved the sprawling show landscape from appearing too uniform. On the day of our visit, in the afternoon of the first day, the show was fairly quiet but the exhibitors we spoke to seemed content, noting that the quality of the visiting buyers was very high.
Elvine’s UK distributor Pete Gilbert declared that the Swedish label’s current bestseller is the multifunctional double-layer jacket. “It safeguards against the typically unpredictable weather we have now and consumers are getting used to the idea of switching between two different layers, unless the temperature allows for both layers to be worn,” he said. Equipped with equally transformative powers, Quicksilver’s light-hued technical jacket had a black inner layer that gave depth to the look when zipped down a few inches.
The workwear trend has returned with gusto, bringing with it a multitude of anoraks and practical features. Japanese label Wislom, a new Jacket Required entry, bases its very premise on utility outerwear. Its short, multi-pocket jacket is so well equipped it’ll impress even the most gadget-happy geek, or even carpenter. Italian label Meltin’Pot, meanwhile, offered versatility with a neoprene/quilting combo zip-through jacket with detachable hood.
Padding and quilting
There was plenty of padding and quilting on display. Some labels used it throughout for jackets and even trousers, while others added inserts or panels for warmth and aesthetic value.
The sweatshirt evolution
The humble sweatshirt is still mighty fashionable, though many designers have tweaked it for AW16 to add newness. Japanese label Flistfia, which incidentally specializes in jersey garments, served up some of the best. The short sleeved raglan sweatshirts in mélange grey and beige looked particularly fresh.
Fur collars and inserts, real or faux, were sighted often. Swedish Indigofera Prima, which exhibited for the first time at the show, used lamb’s shearling for collars on coats and also crafted entire garments from the cozy material.
Denim – purist and raw or treated and bleached
Denim came in most finishes, from clean and raw to distressed and bleached to within an inch if its life. Japanese contender Still by Hand’s dry denim jacket with neat collar and pleated detailing caught our eye, and so too its tapered jeans – the pairing would make for a splendid double denim look.
Chunky knits and tactile texture
Chunky knits with a Nordic feel lent many collections a rustic quality. Danish label Samsøe & Samsøe’s sweaters were particularly appealing, and the lighter versions in boiled wool were strong, too. Yorkshire based knitwear specialist Slaith, a new name on the scene, offered seamless cashmere and merino pieces with a butter-soft hand feel.
Gilets for all
Tweed, shearling, quilted, button-through or zip-equipped… gilets had been fashioned in a myriad of ways by many brands exhibiting at the show. The garment’s popularity is no doubt a testament to the mild winters we’ve been having lately, particularly in the UK, sending traditional winter coats to the back of the wardrobe or indeed the bargain bin.