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Jacket Required: the word from the AW20 show

Tom Bottomley
27 January 2020

With a new format and more curated show this time around, ahead of the move to the Saatchi Gallery in south west London for the summer show in 22-23 July, the exhibitors at Jacket Required, sponsored by Klarna, had mixed views about the changes, though largely remained upbeat. Here’s what six brands had to say about the show and their new AW20 menswear collections.

Jolyon Bexon, head of retail, Raeburn

Raeburn

Jolyon Bexon

How have you found Jacket Required?

It’s been good. We’ve had some really nice buyers in, not just from the UK – though Harvey Nichols have been on – but international buyers as well, which is great. We’ve also met some people that could possibly lead to collaborations, so it’s just great for us to be here meeting people and exchanging ideas – that's how things go forward. It’s been positive. Compared to the autumn/winter show we did here 12 months ago, I would say it’s smaller but more elevated. I think there’s a greater focus on the right brands, and it seems more organised and curated. It’s also had good footfall. We had quite a surge of people through early on day two, though it did quieten down at lunchtime.

What do think about the move for Jacket Required to the Saatchi Gallery for summer show?

It’s an amazing location. The women’s Scoop show takes place there and I know that’s well attended. We need to have premium menswear trade show in the UK – versus the likes of the Paris shows and Pitti Uomo in Florence, and I think location has a big part to play in that. The setting has to be right as well, and I think it’s a beautiful setting, so it can only be a good thing.

What’s new for AW20?

The Raeburn brand is very much focused on innovative textiles. We’ve used incredible anti-gravity trousers worn by fighter pilots, deconstructed them and remade them in to bomber jackets, field jackets and accessories. It’s all done in our studio in London. We’ve also used original military parachute nylon material, something we’re known for, and we’ve taken it apart, died it and turned it into great sportswear and tailoring pieces for AW20 – such as a two-button blazer that comes with trousers and a coat as well. Design inspiration has also been taken from original orange 1960’s arctic survival jumpsuits, which we’ve deconstructed and turned in to limited edition jackets. Those aren’t for wholesale, they are only for direct to consumer in our retail stores. We’ll only make a handful of them, but they’re story-telling pieces. For wholesale we’ve done some really nice and commercial laundered cotton garments in black, olive and bright orange. Another key piece is a puffer jacket featuring an all over print using imagery from Icelandic photographer Ragnar Axelsson, which show the melting ice caps in the Antarctic. We’ve printed his imagery on recycled polyester, silk and jersey pieces too.

Annie Richmond, owner, BBCO Headwear

Jacket Required

Annie Richmond

How have you found Jacket Required?

This is our first ever showing at Jacket Required and I’d say it has worked well for us from a connections point of view. I’ve met quite a few buyers, maybe five or six, from the skate and surf industry, as well as a potential distributor for Japan. For me that’s going to be the big conversation piece. Overall, in terms of the conversations I’d had, it’s definitely been more quality over quantity.

What does BBCO stand for?

I grew up in the 1980’s – around a lot of brands like Fat Willy’s, Sexwax and Douchebags – all edgy names so, I when I started out, I called it Big Balls Collective, because it was aimed at the extreme board sports market. I always say to people never name your brand when you’re drunk! Anyway, I registered it, and then thought it wasn’t going to work, so I abbreviated it to BBCO. We don’t use Big Balls Collective on anything, it’s just like a private in-house joke now.

How long has the brand been established?

I came back to the UK in 2014 from living in Colarado in the US for four years where I was really into snowboarding. I had an obsession with headwear and launched as a beanie business on my return at the Ski and Snowboard show in London, a consumer show. It just kind of grew from there and we now do a lot of men’s caps, as the board-sports market is really strong and we get a lot of surfers and skaters wearing our five-panel caps. Our three pine trees logo stems from my Colorado influence, where there’s big forests.

What marks your headwear out from other brands?

Our USP is we use a lot of British materials, such as caps made from British Millerain, which are also fleece-lined. We focus on quality. We have a mini leather detachable holster on the side of one of our five panel cap designs, for a pen or pencil. There’s a real workwear to streetwear vibe right now, so a lot of guys wear the caps as workwear, and then they’ll take the holster off in the evening when they’re out and about. Those caps retail at £37. A lot of our beanie hats are now made here in the UK, though the caps are made in China. However, we’re at the point now where we’re starting to look at having our own production in the UK because we’re getting the volume now. On a sustainable front, our SS20 collection features trucker caps made from recycled bottles.

Tom Turton, UK & Ireland sales manager, Loake

Loake

Tom Turton

How have you found Jacket Required this time?

Overall, it’s been okay. The first day was pretty good – we saw quite a few existing customers and a couple of potential new ones which could be good for us. The second day has been extremely quiet though, as the second day usually is.

How have you found the changes to the show?

It’s a bit disappointing that there’s not been as many people here as usual – in terms of exhibitors the show is a lot smaller than it has been. The new layout is pretty good though, especially the way they’ve sectioned it off. It’s kept similar brands together and I think it’s been better curated than the last couple of shows. It also looks a bit more premium and I’m happy where we’re situated and the brands we have around us, such as Cheaney and Oliver Sweeney.

What are your thoughts on Jacket Required moving to the Saatchi Gallery next season?

I’m not sure to be honest. I think a lot of the guys and the menswear brands that are showing here are situated around this area of London, so shifting them across to the other side of London might be a bit more difficult logistically. A lot of them come out of their showrooms nearby to the Old Truman Brewery and bring their products here, so it might be quite a difficult move. Historically the Saatchi Gallery has been much more of a women’s show location, so whether you’ll get the guys over there I really don’t know.

What’s new for Loake?

We’ve historically been sold in a lot of shoe shops, but we’re trying to bring the brand in to a lot more menswear retailers, hence why we’re showing here, as we’re bringing a lot more lifestyle products through. We launched trainers last season and they’ve had a really good reaction. It’s a premium cup-sole trainer which retains the Loake DNA. They retail at £165. We don’t just want the Loake customer in his work shoes all week, we want him in his casual trainers at the weekend as well. We also have a new range called Legacy – all made in the UK – which includes a Chelsea boot in leather or suede with a Dainite sole. Additionally, for this season, we’ve added a hiker boot, Goodyear welted with a commando sole, which is having a really strong reaction. That will retail at £280, which is about as high a price point as we go for the UK. 

Weien Soh, account manager for Shiner Distribution – showing Santa Cruz, Body Glove, Arbor, Straye and Powell Peralta

Jacket Required

Weien Soh

How have you found the show?

We’ve been bringing brands to Jacket Required for about five or six years, but we’ve not brought as many brands as this before. We’ve really liked it, as we’ve got a really big space, and they installed a skate ramp for us which has been great fun. We’ve had a really good time and we’ve talked to lot of people – everyone’s been really interested in our space and what we’ve got to offer. A lot of our existing accounts have offices around the corner and have been in to see us. And we’ve had quite a few buyers looking for new brands for their shops.

How would you best describe Shiner Distribution?

We’re UK distributors for predominantly American brands, and we’ve brought five brands here this time, though we actually distribute a total of 61 brands. We’re originally started out as a skateboard distribution company, then expanding in to surf, snow and skate lifestyle products. For instance, Arbor is a snow brand, which started off making premium snowboards in 1995, but then branched out in to apparel, footwear, backpacks, beanies and more. It’s a brand known for its sustainability. For each snowboard they make, they plant a tree.

Is this a UK relaunch for Body Glove?

This is only our third season with it for European distribution, but we’ve already sold it in to the likes of ASOS and Surfdome. It’s been alive and well in America, but it’s not been in the UK for about 10 years or so. It’s a California surf brand that made the original red swimsuits for Baywatch. The swimwear has recently been sold in to Victoria’s Secret in the US, and has had 75% sell-through in three weeks. The brand was big in the UK in the late 80’s and early 90’s with its distinctive logo printed on T-shirts, hoodies and long-sleeved Tees with the brand name running down the sleeves. That’s mainly what we’re mainly showing here.

How is the Santa Cruz apparel performing?

Santa Cruz was founded making skateboard hardware in California, but the apparel is relatively new to us. We’ve only been doing the apparel for four years, but we have the European license to design and manufacture it, as well as distribute it. Our collection has grown massively, and it’s been doing really well in the likes of Urban Outfitters, ASOS and Surfdome, as well as all the cool independent skate shops. It’s our best-selling brand. It’s the 25thanniversary of Santa Cruz’s ‘Speed Wheels’ - one of Santa Cruz’s skateboard wheel brands - and we’ve got a special capsule collection with the original graphic artist, Jim Phillips. There will be an exhibition of his original artwork at House of Vans in London in the summer.

Paul Batista, brand manager, Yogi Footwear

Yogi Footwear

Paul Batista

Have you noticed much of a difference to Jacket Required and what do you think of moving it to the Saatchi Gallery?

I’ve showed here for five years, and I have to say the layout has improved. But the footfall and attendance has been in steady decline since we started showing, so it’s probably a good thing they are moving it to the Saatchi Gallery for next season – to give it a bit of a reboot, and make the brand list more premium. It’s time to do something new with it for sure, a real solid change is what’s required. I think moving location is a good short-term strategy.

How’s it been for you this time?

Well, we’ve opened up three new accounts here this time, so there are still people coming. We’ve also seen John Lewis buyers here, and we are actually launching with them imminently for SS20. Unfortunately, as much love as there has been for the show in the past, it’s not what it was. The footfall has been down, but I do like the layout and the music has been good! In comparison, we’ve just shown at Welcome Edition in Paris, which is the best one we’ve done – with the best footfall that’s ever been. There was more of an influx of American buyers there, because New York isn’t really popping the way it was.

What do you think of the brand adjacencies this time?

It seems a bit up and down. There are some good brands such as Cheaney, Mephisto, Pantherella and Blundstone, but there’s also a lot of brands that I’ve never heard of. I would say it’s inconsistent. The skate ramp has been quite a nice addition – it fits well with the brands that are around it, though it’s nothing innovative.

What’s new product-wise for Yogi Footwear?

What we’re carving out is a niche for ourselves on negative heel footwear, which was the brand’s signature when it was owned by Duffer of St. George in the mid 90’s. That’s the area where our sales are starting to grow, drifting away slightly from classic moccasin product. It’s all about the colours and using premium leathers and suedes. We’ve probably got around a dozen new options in the collection on the negative heel footwear, including our 25thanniversary collaboration with YMC. Both brands were founded in 1995. New styles include the ‘Finn’, which comes in a tumbled leather and features extended lacing and lots of exposed seams, which is quite native American, and ‘Hitch’ – a makeover of our existing cup-sole shoe with blanket-stitching around the circumference of the shoe.

Jack Swift, menswear sales executive, Love Brands, showing Invicta

Jacket Required

Jack Swift

How have you found Jacket Required?

It’s been quiet on the whole. There’s been a lot of bloggers and marketing people, but not so many actual stores coming by. It’s been a bit frustrating really. It’s our first time at the show, but we’re not entirely convinced about coming back again. Maybe it does need freshening up. Moving to the new location at the Saatchi Gallery might mean there’s a bit more of a buzz about it next time.

Is Invicta new to the UK market?

It’s not in the UK market at the minute. We’ve just taken it on board for AW20, so we’re starting afresh with it. We’ve had a good reaction to it so far, the product quality is good and the price points are right, with the lightweight down jackets entering at £155 retail.

What’s the background of Invicta?

It’s originally a British bag brand, which was founded in 1906. It started making in Italy in 1921, and supplied the Italian military with backpacks in the 1940’s. The brand Italian owned these days, and it’s best known for its ‘Jolly’ backpack. They still make great bags, but the brand is also strong on outerwear, which it’s made since the 1980’s. It’s also a brand known for supplying equipment to Italian ski teams. It’s got a real Alpine history – that’s where the brand has made its name on the outerwear front.

What’s strong about the outerwear?

The longer hooded men’s puffer jacket, which is the highest price point we do retailing at £725, has real technical features and carry straps on the inside, so if you get too hot you can take it off and carry it over your shoulders. The bi-colour shorter puffer jacket, with the four pouch pockets on the front, is proving popular. It has 3M reflective material around the pockets, so you won’t get run over in it! That one retails at £600.

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