The New Bloomsbury Set

Victoria House

Bloomsbury Ballroom entrance, Victoria House. ca. 1920


Chapter 1: Change is the Only Constant

…And so it was for the A/W 2012 exhibition that Jacket Required found a new location and spiritual home: The Bloomsbury Ballroom. Occupying the basement of this legendary listed building in the heart of London – where east meets west – seemed more than appropriate. “We weren’t concerned about whether the buyers would come to the new location; we knew they would. We were just worried that it might change the feel of the show. There was sense in Shoreditch that we were all taking part in something new, making a real collective statement – I wondered if it would feel the same when we expanded and took on this new space,” says Craig Ford, codirector of Jacket Required. Now after two seasons at the historic Bloomsbury Ballrooms, more changes are afoot. (See Chapter 5)

Chapter 2: Fortune Favours the Bold

With brands like Edifice, Levis Vintage and Our Legacy joining already participating labels such as Penfield, Universal Works, Garbstore, Mark McNairy and Human Made, Jacket Required did indeed change and evolve – developing an even more recognisable voice than before. “More space allowed us to show more of the brands we liked; a broader range of brands yes, but all of them relevant and with something to say”, Explains Ford. …The risk paid off and the second show was a huge success. What sealed it for many was the location – a sense of history rediscovered. …Inspired by the original Bloomsbury group, Jacket Required recognised that they were witnessing and facilitating a sartorial regeneration.

Chapter 3: Judge the Man by the Company he Keeps

“The key to the show,” explains Mark Batista, “is selection.” Batista co-directs the show with Ford: “We’ve run shops, we’ve run shows before and we realised that menswear was becoming more sophisticated – as a business and as an aesthetic. It was important that the people in the show all felt the same way – so for myself and Craig, although we could have filled the space twice over, for us it was really a question of careful curation.” Like the original Bloomsbury set, Jacket Required is very selective when it comes to the company it keeps. “The brands in the show, all different, have their own identities but share something similar – like an attitude.”

Chapter 4: He Who Would Lead Must Follow

Very early on Jacket Required realised that the other key element to the show’s success was relating to consumers. “First and foremost it’s a trade show; it’s about stores buying from brands – planning for the forthcoming season. But it’s also about giving some of those brands a kind of platform. There’s a mass of guys not in the business who are really interested in emerging styles and brands. It’s important for us to engage with them too – to share some of that excitement we feel and let them know what they can look forward to in the months to come.”

Chapter 5: A New Chapter

Jacket Required February 7th and 8th 2013. For the forthcoming show, Jacket Required A/W 2013, more changes are planned. Some of the new projects planned by JR will complement the new street level entrance – with the show’s registration and admission moving to the Ballrooms original, grade 2 listed doorway on Bloomsbury Square. “What we like about the building is that it is both old and new – it’s classic and modern. The brands we host include a number of heritage brands and a number of forward-facing brands – but even the most forward-looking among them is built on something solid – a knowledge of what’s gone before. For this forthcoming season we’re creating projects that will reach out to the public in a way that brings those elements to life,” explains Ford.





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