Menswear trade shows: The Word from Jacket Required

The word from Jacket Required

On a sweltering hot second day at Jacket Required, the mood was surprisingly upbeat, with most brands feeling positive about sales for the new s/s19 season, as Tom Bottomley found out.

Paul Batista, Head of Sales, Yogi Shoes

Yogi Shoes Jacket Required
Paul Batista

How’s the show been for you this time?

It’s been very good, I’ve picked up four new accounts, including Psyche and Assembly. The general standard of visitors has improved from the January show. I think they’ve upped their game and taken out some of the peripheral brands that were making up the numbers. The whole show feels a lot more premium, and I think it needed to go in that direction to bring it in line with the other international shows to make it a contender. They’ve also changed the layout so you literally have to walk past every brand. It’s like the world’s biggest Ikea, but in a good way! Everyone gets the same exposure.

Where is Yogi Shoes sitting in the market?

We’re entry premium for a lot of the accounts we deal with, which includes Oi Polloi, Peggs and son, Stuarts, Hip and Albam. We sit a price point about Clarks Originals, which we should do as the product is all hand made in Portugal by an old third generation family-owned factory, which specialises in moccasins and cupsole shoes. So, the brand has got a really nice provenance to it. Quality and design values are set very high. We set out to create an honest product, at an honest price point. The shoes sell for £150, and the ankle boots at £160.

What’s the plan to grow the brand further?

We’ve now hit 34 accounts globally, but the target is to get to 100 within the next two to three years. I think we’re on course to do that comfortably. We’re working with the best agents in Scandinavia and the best in Italy, and we’re only dealing with who we see as the top accounts to be in.

Chris Dent, Agent, Red Wing Shoes

Red Wing Shoes
Chris Dent

How are you finding your new location on the ground floor of the show?

It’s good, as I think we’re now sitting alongside more compatible brands. There’s better adjacencies for us, and we’ve reaped the benefits of being down here. It’s been busier than normal for a spring/summer show.

What’s new from Red Wing?

We’ve got two new categories for spring/summer 19. We’ve got a boot called the ‘Wacouta’, which is a stitch down six-inch boot made from canvas and leather combined. The canvas is from Fairfield who do the canvas for our bags, as well as for Filson, so it’s a good soft handle. It goes back to when we did a canoe-toe stitch down a few year ago, called ‘Wabasha’ – named after another town just outside Red Wing in the US, but we stopped it because it was the only boot we made that was outsourced and the quality wasn’t good enough. We’ve now brought it back in house to make it in the original shoe manufacturing plant in Red Wing, that’s been going since 1905. The reaction to that has been great.

How was the launch of the new Red Wing women’s shop on Newburgh Street last week?

The evening was a huge success and was extremely well attended. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many men at the opening of a women’s store, plus their girlfriends and partners obviously. It’s owned and run by Rachel Williams from American Classics, who also looks after the men’s store on the corner of Newburgh Street as well. They were making sales on the night, which is a good sign. I think it will do well. Women have been wearing the men’s boots for some time, but they can now have that look with a bit more comfort and a lighter and softer feel product, on a specific women’s shoe last.

Simon Parr, Sales Executive, Gibson London

Simon Parr

Have you seen many buyers this time?

Yes, I’ve seen quite a few, and I’ve written some orders. People seem to be quite upbeat. It’s so hot outside, and everyone is coming in wearing shorts and T-shirts, but at least the air conditioning is now working well where we are on the top floor, which is better for selling. When you’re trying to sell Tweed jackets and waistcoats is does really help!

So are buyers really buying Tweed suits in this weather?

Well, it’s a lighter-weight Tweed to be fair. We’ve now got two phases of delivery, which we’ve never done before. The Tweed options are for phase one, to go in store for the end of January and February for s/s19. Phase two is more about linen and cotton. It doesn’t really start to warm up until May, so it makes more sense. It’s all about the contrast and the details for s/s19. We’ve got a Prince of Wales Tweed jacket with a denim trim on the collar and the sleeves of the jackets, and then we’ve got the waistcoat and trousers in the denim so you can co-ordinate with that. We’re doing lots of mix and match. I think because the weather has been so consistently hot, men have had to rethink their wardrobe, and that’s when the linen and cotton jackets and trousers come in to play – when you need to dress it up a bit from just T-shirts and shorts.

How are you doing on the waistcoats?

We’re selling loads. I think it’s the World Cup effect with Gareth Southgate wearing one throughout England’s journey to the semi-final. Our waistcoats are generally high-rise with a collar and satin back with a belt. Every single jacket we have has its own waistcoat. Gibson is still owned by BMB Clothing, the second biggest suit manufacturer in the country, so we’ve got the production facilities to offer several options.

Jason McKey, Head of Menswear, Love Brands, showing Guess Jeans

Jacket Required Guess
Jason McKey

How long have you been looking after UK sales for Guess Jeans and what’s the reaction been like?

We’ve had the footwear for about a year on men’s and women’s, and we took over being the UK distributor on the clothing towards the end October 2017. I sold the a/w18 collection, but it was quite late to be selling it. I only joined Love Brands last December, having previously been at National Account Manager at Farah for eight years. But Guess Jeans has really exploded for us instantly.

Why do you think that is and what’s so right about it for now?

It’s a 1980’s brand, founded in Los Angeles in 1981, so it’s got some great heritage, and that whole thing about 80’s and 90’s brands, along with the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein – especially with the big logos – is all very now. We’re doing extremely well with our Guess Jeans logo Tees and sweats in bright colours, but it is a full lifestyle collection for men and women. We’ve got Hawaiian shirts and a leopard print shirt for the more adventurous, and obviously plenty of jeans. Guess has also done a collaboration with American rapper ASAP Rocky, and that’s been all over Instagram which has really helped to raise the brand’s profile again and bring a whole new customer to Guess. It’s bringing the 18-25 year-old customers to the brand, which is great. One T-shirt from the collaboration, retailing at £59 so a price point above our regular offer, and with the last ‘s’ in Guess as dollar sign, went in to Selfridges and sold out within 24 hours.

What does the actual jeans offer consist of?

We’ve got loads of different options across men’s and women’s, everything from skin-tight, slim and super slim to regular, straight and carrot fit. There’s a lot of rip and repair denim for s/s19.

Milan Ramanandi, Sales Manager, Palladio, showing Hartford, Rails, Edmmond Studio and Loreak

Milan Ramandandi

Are Loreak, Edmmond Studio and Rails new brand additions for you and where are they from?

Both Loreak and Edmmond Studio are from Spain. We started with Loreak last year across men’s and women’s and had a really great reaction. It’s entry price point to the more premium stores, and it’s got a bit of fun to it. Edmmond Studio is from Madrid, and it’s brand new for us for s/s19. The reaction has been brilliant. Both brands have great graphic prints, and we’ve had a really strong reaction to the T-shirts. Rails is from Los Angeles, and this is only our second year developing the men’s collection, though it’s already a phenomenal business for us on the women’s side. We launched the men’s in Harrods for s/s18. Rails really know how to do a shirt, the fits are fantastic with a really soft handle, retailing at £125 across the board.

Is Hartford still your main brand?

It is indeed. Hartford is well established for us in the UK market, and again for s/s18 we introduced it to Harrods, and End has come on board recently for its online business. So, the Hartford business has actually grown considerably, in what has been a tough retail climate for independents. It’s been a very well performing brand for us, and that’s being seen in orders that are now coming in for s/s19.

Has Jacket Required lived up to expectation?

The show is great, and this is the place we need to be – on the ground floor – with the brands we represent. When you bring four collections in, you need it to pay its worth, and I feel that with the buyers we’ve seen here, and the footfall, it’s been very positive. I tend to do the orders at our showroom in Waterloo, but buyers do make initial selections here.

Matthew Janes, Marketing Director, Wrangler EMEA

Matthew Janes

What’s the new ‘Icons’ collection all about?

We’re reissuing key denim pieces from our archive. Throughout Wrangler’s history, we’ve had some key moments and key products that have blown up for us at special moments, and this is a nod to those pieces – bringing them to a modern day consumer and telling the story again.

What does the collection consist of?

There’s three iconic products, a jacket, jean and western shirt, these have been with us throughout our 70-year journey and are now reissued for today. I always thought the ‘W’ on both back pockets of the jeans, as well as on both pockets on the jacket and shirt, stood for Wrangler, but the double ‘W’ actually stands for Western Wear. The jacket is our classic 124MJ, which was first brought out in the mid 1960’s and was designed for the cowboys. It was also adopted by rock stars such as John Lennon in the 70’s, and Debbie Harry from Blondie, and it’s the jacket you will sometimes find in vintage stores. The 27MW men’s western shirt was worn by icons such as Mick Jagger and Bob Marley. The 11MWZ is our zip-fly jean. It’s the first jean Wrangler ever made in 1947. We’re reintroducing it with the same top block, but with a more tapered leg for that modern twist. The original would have been more of a bootcut, simply because the cowboys needed to get them over their boots. Freddie Mercury from Queen wore a white pair for Live Aid in 1985. This collection is our big push for SS19, and we’re doing an amazing digital campaign, working with the Iconoclast film production company who do Rihanna’s music videos, as well as Jay-Z and Beyoncé.