Mark took some time out to speak to Ian Wright about Jacket Required (his allotment and the man with the ‘hand of God’)
Read what he had to say below, and the published ‘This Fashion Life’ Drapers article.
We hear expansion plans are afoot with Jacket Required – what is happening?
There is an additional space within Victoria House that up until now, was not available to us. It is the old Bloomsbury Ballroom which is a sublime, 10,000 square foot, wood panelled ballroom with an art deco mirrored bar room. We had hoped we would be able to use it one day as the aesthetic is perfect for the show and when it came available, we booked it up immediately. It will allow us to increase the floor space by 10,000 sq ft and around 35 – 40 additional brands which is great as we have had to turn exhibitors away previously – although we are fast approaching capacity for this next event. We are super excited at the reaction once people see the new part of Jacket Required.
You’ve got 10,000 more sq ft for the February show – what will you fill it with?
Expect more of the same. We have been lucky enough to have been approached by some top calibre brands and we are very excited to be able to accommodate them within the new space. The actual ballroom will be able to house 30 brands and then in the bar we will place an agency with a few brands so they can get a nice representation of their collections. The ballroom is also the perfect venue for the aftershow party which will take place on the evening of the 8th Feb. We are in talks with a couple of brands that are interested in throwing a big knees up in there so watch this space.
What is the international scope for Jacket Required, both in terms of attendees and exhibitors?
It is unlimited, we have had exhibitors and buyers from every corner of the globe. We are expecting a very healthy international attendance for the February show.
What has ITE Moda added to the mix since their purchase of Jacket Required earlier this year?
Structure. Between Craig, Alice and myself we were pretty pushed in terms of handling everything from the sales, invoicing and production. A company with the experience and expertise in Moda have been able to free the three of us up so we can focus on the parts of the show that we specialise in. With the full support of the Moda team, it ensures that we are confident, able to take the show to the next level and begin to compete on a level playing field with some of the biggest shows in the world.
What are the plans for future shows beyond the February edition?
There is a new venue in the pipeline which is literally a stone throw away from Victoria House. It is a vast space on several floors and means, if we need to, we can really open Jacket Required up to a whole host of new exhibitors as we will have the space and the right location.
Why the ‘invitation only’ policy?
Craig and myself have both shown brands from our agencies regularly at other shows over the years, and at some, you actually end up having people there trying to hard sell us, as exhibitors, all manner of different things which we really don’t need or want. The focus on dealing with buyers at tradeshows was starting to become less and less, and we wanted to ensure exhibitors at Jacket Required get to see only the best buyers and press. Some shows were literally becoming more like a circus and it was all about volume of people through the door/visitor numbers and no concern with whether these visitors were even relevant to the brands on show. It had to be taken back to the basic requirement of being at a show to write orders and we feel at Jacket Required, we are achieving just that.
If you could sign up one brand for Jacket Required that you don’t currently have, who would it be?
I couldn’t say just one as there are a whole host of brands we would love to have there. On saying that though, we are unbelievably proud of the brand mix that we have and feel that it is a true refelction of what is going on at the top end of the menswear market.
Who do you think are Jacket Required’s competitors, both here and abroad?
We really admire what Pitti do in the beautiful city and surroundings of Florence. It would be amazing to have a venue like that here in London and to be able to reach the same high standards, season in and season out, that they have set.
How do you think the rest of the world perceives British style?
With great admiration, and in some instances envy in the amount of talent that comes out of these isles. We continue to pioneer in all areas of fashion.
What are your views on high street fashion?
It is necessary and fast becoming more accepted within the menswear market. However, I am hugely opposed to the sort of retailers that prosper from using sweat shops and cheap labour. They know who they are.
How long will the ‘heritage’ trend carry on?
It’s over isn’t it??
My day usually begins with…
Getting woken up by my children, Mabel and Ernest, at an ungodly hour, having breakfast with them and then a 10 mile cycle to work.
If you could wear one brand for the rest of your life, what would it be?
How do you switch off after a hard day at work?
Tending to the carrots, cabbages and cauliflowers in my allotment. My prize winning broad beans are a sight to behold.
Who would play you in the movie of your life?
Jean Claude Van Damme……..my all time hero.
What would be on the soundtrack of that movie?
A Blade Runner’esque score by the legendary Vangelis. It would work well with Jean Claude’s exemplary acting skills.
Whose personal style do you admire?
My father’s… he was always the best dressed and stylish man in any room.
What’s the most extravagant thing you’ve bought but never worn?
Maradona’s football boots at a charity auction.