London menswear tradeshow Jacket Required (22-23 Jan.) concluded on Thursday night. Held as per previous seasons in east London’s The Old Truman Brewery, this outing marked the finale of this venue as the show is due to relocate to west London’s Saatchi Gallery next season (the same venue as womenswear show Scoop). The exhibitors we spoke to about the news seemed largely happy about the move, though some admitted they’ll miss the industrial charm and spaciousness of The Old Truman Brewery.
A new initiative for this edition of Jacket Required, the first hall presented a crop of twelve sustainable brands – including Dashel, Conscious Step, Komodo, Thalassophy, Revolution, Raeburn and United Change Makers – the new brand of Phil Wildbore, founder of Monkee Genes, who also serves as Jacket Required’s newly appointed sustainability ambassador. Said Wildbore about the new eco-driven showcase: “There’s so much greenwashing in the industry and we wanted to single out brands that adopt an “all or nothing” approach to sustainability. This wasn’t necessarily easy. To young designers, sustainability is a given and an obvious way to produce, but some of the long-established brands, particularly in the menswear sector, can be a little slow to adapt. This initiative is an important step – I’d love to see the UK lead the way and gain a reputation for exciting, sustainable brands.”
Speaking to exhibitors across the fair landscape, some commented on the low footfall, which might have been due to lingering Brexit uncertainty. On the positive side, there was a lot more space to play with as the exhibitor number hovered around the 80 mark, down from about 250 at its peak a few seasons ago.
The increased size of the booths was something many exhibitors appreciated.
Said Adele Barbone, head of international sales and marketing at Pop 84 Jeans: “We’ve had a good show, meeting buyers from Scotland, England and Switzerland. We’re really happy with the position of our spacious booth, which is right at the entrance of the main hall, giving us great visibility.”
Meanwhile, Carl Barratt, head of sales at Luke 1977, had this to say: “On the first day, we wrote orders for Luke 1977 with buyers from Hungary, Sweden and Holland, while on the second day we mainly came across manufacturers and designers. It’s important to remain positive though – Jacket Required is a great show and the UK should definitely have a dedicated menswear fair. It would make sense for organiser Hyve to run all its shows (Jacket Required, Scoop, Pure London) over the same period – the way it’s done in many other cities. London is a great city that international buyers love visiting, but few can set time aside to travel here several times a year.”
Here, a few highlights discovered across the fair landscape:
Freshly launched London label Daisy King, founded by Daisy Bryson and Tom King, makes sustainable pieces crafted from locally sourced linen and cotton fabrics. The retro-inspired prints are designed in-house by King, and manufacturing takes place in an east London factory relying on renewable resources and taking a zero waste approach.
United Change Makers
Monkee Genes co-founder Phil Wildbore (who’s now left Monkee Genes) has founded a new denim brand – enter United Change Makers. Featuring hemp/organic cotton denim, four fits are available for men (and as many for women) – a few of which are updated versions of designs created by Wildbore in the 1980s. One of the best is a high-waisted jean with a straight, wide leg. This happens to be designed with women in mind, but Wildbore predicts men will fall for it, too.
Founded in 1988, UK brand Komodo is part of the small, original crop of sustainable brands. Seen here, the Carl jumper, crafted from an organic cotton/Tencel blend and knitted in a solar-powered factory in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Fjällräven’s classic Kånken backpack now comes in Re-Wool – a recycled material made from cut-offs. Three colorways and two sizes were on display at Jacket Required – a regular size and mini sling version available in grey, navy and a red buffalo check.
High-end casualwear brand Twenty Montreal presented a range of pieces that showed off some of the skills of its sophisticated North American vertical mill. This Hyper Reality jacquard piece draws on the natural drama of “wood, earth and flame”. Other strong pieces included sweatshirts with cable-knit panels.
Pop 84 Jeans
Italian brand Pop 84 Jeans was founded in the 1970s and revived a few years ago. The FW20 collection encompasses a variety of fits for both men and women – from skinny to oversized. Logo-adorned, brightly hued hoodies added a retro feel to the brand’s booth.