Jacket Required - Menswear Tradeshow, The Old Truman Brewery, London
Posted on 08 August 2016
Ever wondered just how retailers make decisions behind the scenes? I have always had an interest in the workings of fashion brands and what happens before the garments make their appearance in my wardrobe. I’m not talking about the production of the clothes (although that is definitely far more exciting than you’d expect!) but how exactly do retailers get a taste of the newest brands and the latest offerings for the coming season?
Last week I was invited along for a sneak peek of my own, at menswear tradeshow Jacket Required. Set in the cool, urban surroundings of The Old Truman Brewery in central London, jackets were definitely not required inside here on this sweltering summers day. Not even the stylish new offerings on the racks would have tempted me, ice lollies would have done nicely though…
Tradeshows are invite only and after collecting my badge and picking up the brand brochure, I entered the exciting world of the fashion buyer. Two floors filled with an international line up of exclusive, contemporary casualwear. Offering everything from sunglasses to sneakers, sportswear to sophisticated styling. Each brand has a pop up area. Racks filled with the newest offerings, look books to tempt you even if the products are not on your list. Jacket Required is relatively new on the trade scene and came from a desire to showcase the best of brands with a small offering of their collections. Simple and understated.
Taking the simple and understated theme, brands displayed on stripped wooden shelving, garments hanging on simple rails with cool white brand signs. With this almost Scandinavian aesthetic the buyer is drawn straight to the new collections. Colours pop against the white walls and bare fittings. My eye was drawn to one of our new exclusive brands for next season - Djinns. Hats and co-ordinating sneakers in earthy tones and contrasting fabrics. This is a brand your feet will want to walk in.
Even with this laid back atmosphere some brands want to go all out to get your attention - stands decorated with full size motorbikes, interactive products, free gifts and I even got to take a little trip to Peru thanks to TOMS. Looking over their new range I was asked if I was aware of the One for One campaign. Having purchased several pairs I knew all about the ethos. But Toms had to go the extra mile and make me feel their campaign. As if I was on some Sci-fi set, I watched as Michael the rep pulled out virtual reality goggles. Yes that's right virtual reality! In one blink I was transported to the middle of a village in Peru surrounded by the children they provide with footwear. Incredible! Did it make me want to buy the whole collection? A little, it was fun and definitely got my attention. But what I liked the most was the fact it showed me the companies ethical stance is much more than just a PR spin.
As well as checking out new brands, I also got the opportunity to meet up with some the guys from the brands we already know and love and have stocked for a while including Ellesse, Nicce London, Fila, Hype, New Era and Herschel Supply Co. The show represents a great opportunity to check in, catch up and see whats going on.
All in all I had a great day as a buyer, it would have been finished in style had I been told about the renowned after party. But the boss kept that part quiet! Maybe next year...