Amidst the mounting riots in London, the trade show weekend (August 7-8/9, 2011) with focus on s/s 2012 went about its business without interruptions with Pure London, Stitch, Pure Spirit, Margin and Jacket Required all running simultaneously.

Jacket Required

Held at the Rochelle School in hip Shoreditch, the new menswear show Jacket Required entered the scene for the first time. On our visit, during the last day of the show, the event was lively and busy. The premise of the fair is simple according to the organizers, Mark Batista, Craig Ford and Andrew Parfitt: “London had no credible menswear tradeshow and it deserves one. That’s why we cane up with Jacket Required.” And something credible they’ve come up with. Gimmick free and centered on labels for the discerning buyer, the exhibitor line-up was as achingly cool as the crowd it attracted. Human Made, Edwin, Chevignon Togs, Denim Demon, Gram, Velour, Sandqvist, Chapman Bags, Pointers and Ben Sherman’s new line, Modern Classics were among the labels presenting their propositions for next spring. “The show’s been consistently busy and the quality of visitors very high, with buyers from retailers such as Dover Street Market turning up. We’ll definitely sign up for next season’s event,” said Holly Giselle Hilden of Brand Progression, an agency counting names including Denim Demon and Velour to its roster.
For its first outing, Jacket Required showcased about 35 brands, and the tight selection and precise editing worked in its favor. How will the concept develop for next season and beyond? “We’ll organically expand the concept adding more exclusive brands that don't show at other tradeshows and will give buyers a good reason to attend the show,” explained Mark Batista.

Stitch/Pure Spirit
Moving across town to Stitch, the menswear show that co-located with Pure Spirit in Earls Court for the second consecutive season, the fair appeared a lot busier than last season. Brands that formed part of the brand line-up included Pretty Green, Superga, Silas, Original Penguin, Björn Borg and Trikki- the latter of which has evolved considerably to offer a wide selection of jackets and trousers alongside the jersey tops it’s built its business upon. Meanwhile, the noteworthy newcomer, Common People, served up footwear and good outerwear that have already grabbed the attention of the respected Manchester retailer, Oi Polloi.
On the womenswear front, Lee exhibited at Pure Spirit for the first time this season- an initiative that didn’t come about by chance. “We decided to exhibit for the first time at Pure Spirit since a lot of the fast fashion brands that are present have started to incorporate denim. In view of this development, we now feel that Lee sits well within the mix,” said Gabi Habib, Lee’s marketing controller.

Margin, the pintsized but potent springboard for start-up labels, attracted some particularly worthy candidates this season. Menswear newbie Being Equal, a label in its infancy but displaying authority of a much more established name, was one of them. Run by two brothers, the label encompasses a well-edited mix of shirts, tees, parkas and trousers- all of which feature interesting detailing and good cuts. Another strong contender was Potential of Hydrogen- a bike company having turned its attention to clothing designed to make life easier, and more aesthetically pleasing, for bike-riding men. Think garments with pockets at the back, and shirts featuring strategically positioned panels to allow for movement. On the shoe front, the new label Mulo caught our eye. In shape, the brightly coloured shoes look similar to Toms, but it’s the construction of the footwear that is at the heart of the venture. This is a breed of shoe a lot more intelligent than the ever-popular espadrille, as it features a waxed cotton upper, a natural rubber sole and a leather inner- elements applied to make a comfortable summer shoe that won’t shred to pieces on the second wear.