On the eve of Jacket Required’s sixth edition (5-6 Feb.), a widespread tube strike hit London, while persistent rain and blustery wind added to the sense of calamity. Unsurprisingly, the footfall inside the show’s vast new home– The Old Truman Brewery in east London–was rather meager. All things considered, the exhibitors we spoke to seemed rather positive and the atmosphere was as pleasant as always. “The tube strike should have dampened people’s spirits but there is a lot of smiley faces around,” said Christian Bourke, creative director of Irish men’s accessory label Stighlorgan.  “We’ve had a good show and have written several orders,” The Stighlorgan goods that attracted buyers this season included Irish military- inspired backpacks and pieces crafted from lacquered and rubber-dipped canvas. Another stand that appealed to visitors was that of Japanese denim label Ordinary Fits, which opted to show at Jacket Required in order to break into the European market. The five year-old label offered jeans in regular and roomier fits cut with different panels of denim in colors ranging from milk and butterscotch to deepest blue– though not all appearing within the same pair, but rather combined in complementing tones. Jackets were strong too- one of the standout pieces being a double-breasted slouchy parka-style model with white plastic buttons.

Plenty of other denim labels were scattered across the venue’s two floors– Evisu, Denim is Everything, Edwin, Denham, Left Field NYC, PRPS and Levi’s Vintage Clothing to mention but a few. Australian newcomer Neuw formed part of the mix, too. Despite entering the UK market only last season, it has managed to establish a respectable client list and is now stocked at doors such as Harvey Nichols, Coggles and Selfridges. Neuw’s bestseller is the Iggy- a black skinny model that accounts for a respectable 65% chunk of the label’s total sales.

Our view of Jacket Required’s latest outing and its status on the trade show landscape in London and beyond: the show has remained true to its identity despite its rather dramatic expansion and takeover from ITE Moda in July 2012. While the 200 strong exhibitor line-up is dominated by offbeat cool UK based casualwear brands in the mid market bracket, the show’s reputation has spread across the globe and thus attracts brands from countries including Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, the US and Japan. There is a increasing density of denim labels, and if the fair chose to arrange them en masse it could make for quite an impressive denim hall.

Jacket Required F/W14 observations and highlights

Collections that sent discerning fashion mavens into a spin: Ordinary Fits frightfully cool denim offerings and Makin Jan Ma’s pieces featuring signature scribble prints based on the designer’s own stories.

The fashion item of the show: the fisher’s hat

Favorite topic among exhibitors: the dreaded tube strike and JR’s new venue, which marks the return to east London (the show’s first edition took place at the Rochelle School a stone’s throw from Shoreditch High Street, before it moved to Victoria House in Bloomsbury).

Most covetable shirt: the round-collared heavy cotton version adorned with a tiny red anchor emblem from Japanese label Natic Marine – which served up an amazing array of other shirt alternatives, too.