Jacket Required: Exclusive interview with Mark Batista, Andrew Parfitt & Craig Ford

As we’re getting proper excited about heading down to our beloved capital this weekend to check out the Jacket Required tradeshow, we thought we’d get a head start on all the action by asking a few cheeky and pertinent questions to the three musketeers of menswear responsible for creating this exciting event.

Mark Batista is founder of London’s infamous and innovative To Be Confirmed show and owner of UK sales agency Brand Progression and store Number Six.

Andrew Parfitt heads up European sales for some of the most directional and exciting brands in the world of menswear and Craig Ford from a number of names* has launched and expanded many prestigious brands such as Duffer, 6876, BBC and Bape.

Here’s what the trendy trio had to say to us….

What are you all wearing today?

CF-Converse X Masafumi Watanabe, cashmere socks from T&A, Bape shirt, Ralph cashmere cable knit, Levis 501’s, & Ebbets X Bape Cap. ie same as usual.

AP – White Superga, cashmere socks from Brora, Big E Jeans, Candy stripe Gitmanshirt, Orange Loro Piana jumper, green Haversack blazer with a Calabrese Pocket square!!

It’s fair to say that your combined knowledge and experience of the world of men’s wear is gargantuan. Which labels and styles have personally influenced you and the paths you have followed in your lives?

CF – Labels- Fiorucci, Chevignon, Chipie, Esprit, Duffer, 6876, Bape, Stussy. Styles- Mod, Punk, Skin, Ted, Casual, Hip Hop, Preppy, Military

MB – STONE ISLAND, BONNEVILLE (BASICALLY ANYTHING MASSIMO OSTI EVER LAID HIS HANDS ON) RALPH LAUREN, MARKS AND SPENCERS, NIKE, ADIDAS, LEVIS VINTAGE, ARMY SURPLUS, LACOSTE, BENETTON, PAUL SMITH………..CASUAL.

AP – Labels – Benetton 012, Ralph, Mr Eddie of Berwick St, Haversack. Styles – Mods, Casual and Preppy

Speaking of your combined experience, you’re the brains (and possibly brawn) behind the influential Jacket Required shows, how did that come together and what can we expect to see at the next one?

CF – Expect to see more brands of the same calibre as the first one. Interesting ones that haven’t shown before in the EU like Edifice, Ursa Majora and Ebbets Field Flannels.

MB – BETWEEN THE THREE OF US WE COME ACROSS MUCH OF WHAT IS INSPIRING AND INNOVATING IN MENSWEAR ACROSS THE GLOBE. WE AIM TO BRING THE BEST OF WHAT WE SEE ON OUR TRAVELS TO JACKET REQUIRED.

AP – It came together through a likeminded conversation between the 3 of us – all agreeing a desperate need to get London back on the map with a solidTradeshow that had all the desirable brands that our market would want to see. Expect to see lots of brands who have never shown in the UK like Riding High, Andersons and William Fox and Sons, the list goes on…!

How does Jacket Required compare with/differ from, other trade-shows like Capsule, Pitti and Bread & Butter etc.?

CF – It’s in London and it is invitation only to top buyers and press.

MB– YES, ANY OLD TOM, DICK OR HARRY CAN’T JUST WANDER IN OFF THE STREET AND GET TO SEE NEXT SEASONS MEN’S COLLECTIONS. THE BRANDS EXHIBITING WITH US ARE SHOWING THE FRUITS OF ALMOST A YEARS HARD WORK SO WE DO OUR BEST TO ENSURE THAT THE WRONG PEOPLE ARE NOT EYEING UP THEIR DESIGNS.

AP – We are making sure all categories are covered. From Tailoring all the way to Men’s Grooming, there is not an area that we are not covered in and we intend to continue this way.

Mark, as owner of the very successful Number Six, how important are trade shows when looking for products that will work well together?

MB – THEY CAN BE EITHER VERY REWARDING OR SOMETIMES A BIT REPETITIVE. I HAVE TRAVELLED BETWEEN FLORENCE, NEW YORK, BERLIN AND PARIS IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS AND FELT PRETTY UNINSPIRED. HOWEVER, WHEN I LOOK AT THE LINE UP WE HAVE GOT TOGETHER FOR JACKET REQUIRED, CALL ME SLIGHTLY BIASED, BUT I MUST ADMIT I AM REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO SPENDING SOME TIME UNEARTHING NEW GEMS FOR NUMBER SIX.

You all must have had some great freebies over the years, what’s the best thing you’ve ever been ‘gifted’ by a brand?

CF–  Numerous pieces of outerwear from BAPE.

MB – VARIOUS GARMENTS FROM MA.STRUM, GARBSTORE, OLIVER SPENCER, NOAH TAKE PRIDE OF PLACE IN MY WARDROBE.

AP – A hell of a lot of Haversack!!

Have we turned a style corner recently and has the death knell started for the whole ‘heritage’ look? Do you think men’s fashion is going in a more modern direction?

CF – Hopefully, I am personally interested in bringing streetwear back.

MB – HERITAGE HAS PEAKED FOR SURE. THE WHOLE LOOK HAS BECOME THE NORM WITH THE HIGH STREET EVEN GETTING IN ON THE ACT. PERSONALLY, I AM FEELING A BIT OF A BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY MEETS PAUL HARVEY STYLING USAIN BOLT KIND OF VIBE…….FUTURISTIC TECHNO SPORTSWEAR I HAVE DECIDED TO NAME IT. A REMEDY FOR ALL THE HERITAGE OVERKILL THAT HAS BEEN DOING THE ROUNDS FOR FAR TOO LONG. I MEAN COME ON……HOW MUCH LONGER CAN WE CONTINUE TO LOOK BACKWARDS….??

AP – I certainly think it is… you’ll see it starting next weekend at JR!

Which up and coming labels should we be keeping an eye on for the future?

CF – Palace

MB– TEN C, MA.STRUM, UNDER, MODE OPS

AP – Riding High

Final question….who is the best dressed out of you three?

CF– Me/we all have a different style

MB – ANDREW…..HE IS A FUSION OF COCKNEY GEEZER/DANDY/COUNTRY GENT/THESPIAN………….A TRUE PEACOCK

AP – I guess it’s got to be me really! We all do have our own looks going onthough, I think this helps us when we are selecting who we want at the showas we see it from very different perspectives

(CF – Craig Ford; MB – Mark Batista and AP – Andrew Parfitt)

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