Jacket Required – There’s a Kind of Hush
At Jacket Required a new capsule heritage collection was on display, taking reference from original styles, incorporating the suede and the crepe in casual, comfortable, classic looks.
It would be tempting for me if given one of these forever-solid brands to play with, to ‘jazz things up’, ‘go leftfield’ and ‘be daring’ with some alternative designs. Well, this brand has learned that is not a recipe for success, let alone a plausible way to convert new brand followers across the generations. It’s a case of know your brand, know your customer and don’t wander too far from this principle, or the crepe will hit the fan.
“We strayed too far from the original concept and are going back to our style, our roots, especially on men’s footwear. It demands authenticity as it is a very trustworthy brand,” says Rob Griffiths, Vice President and GM Lifestyle for Wolverine Worldwide, (parent of Hush Puppies). Which tells you. Just don’t mess with the blueprint of the product.
On display are the ‘Doniford’ the sportiest shoe among the 2016 collection and the ‘Davenport High and Low.’ Most of the shoes are in fact designed in UK and manufactured in Portugal. What does this show mean to such an established brand as Hush Puppies? “It’s a key show. Younger, more fashion-forward and allows us to showcase the brand. And it’s a perfect vehicle with a very contemporary feel, even though we are drawing from the past heritage of the brand,” says Rob. The two most important shows for Hush Puppies it transpires are Pitti for a global perspective and Jacket Required – number one in the UK for them.
Interestingly, Hush Puppies are very comfortable with the level playing field the minimalist event structure of JR imposes on all (everyone gets the same stand) – great, known brands and brand newcomers alike. “It means you focus on the product, the clothes, the shoes – not the stand.” There was also a valued appreciation of the buyer voiced by Rob: “There’s a unique retailer who comes here, for brands that want to make a statement, predominantly UK. Nowadays it’s about responding to market opportunities. Buyer’s are looking for quick responses from something close to home.”
For a brand whose roots is entirely US, but doesn’t feel that way, this was about as UK-market committed and focused as it comes. A big brand playing by the rules, mixing it with the young ‘uns and loving every minute of it. No special privileges here. And none asked for.
By Paul Markevicius