Just Around the Corner’s Juls Dawson reveals what’s in store at the show’s upcoming edition

Originally an up-and-coming menswear show, Just Around the Corner (JATC) hosted its first womenswear event in London last summer. This 18-19 January and 8-10 February will see it merging both categories under one roof with two dedicated events in Manchester and the capital.

Buyers will be able to discover 250 brands showing across two different venues, with over 40,000 sq ft of collections across both events. Alongside clothing, there will be dedicated zones for responsible brands as well as footwear and accessories. Plus, buyers will also be treated to complimentary refreshments (last season was catered by London restaurant Café Caribbean) and a free celebratory party after the first day of the London show.

Here we speak to founder Juls Dawson to discover why it’s a must-visit show for your new season schedule…

When and why did you launch JATC?

We launched JATC in July 2019 as an open showroom/order writing show for our agency, JUST Consultancies. It was just our own brands exhibiting along with friends from the industry who were tired of paying for expensive shows. Covid obviously put a stop to this and when we looked at revitalising the show earlier this year the demand was huge, so we took the decision to really focus and grow it to the next level

What’s the idea behind the show?

We have a very practical approach and are already embedded in the industry, so it feels like we know what attendees and exhibitors really want. We offer great value, a level playing field for all brands exhibiting (with no stand builds etc) and encourage order writing with complimentary coffee, pastries and lunch for everyone. All of this creates a really convivial atmosphere

How has it grown since its initial launch?

The first show we did featured about 20 brands (including our own) and had about 150 buyers through the door. For the London show in February we are expecting 130 brands to show and 1,500 buyers to visit. Manchester is obviously a new addition for January where we are expecting 70 brands to show with us.

What does it do differently to other shows?

It’s really about value and customer satisfaction, which is something we struggled to feel ourselves when we were exhibiting at other shows. We are about half the price of our competitors and offer free food and drinks all day to all.

Why do you think it’s been so well received by brands and buyers?

We have really focussed on brand curation and making sure that all buyers who attend find something of interest. The feedback from our women’s show in September was overwhelmingly good! Free all-day bubbly and beer goes down well and in the past we’ve also hosted a party in London on one of the evenings after the show, which is something we plan to do again.

What can visitors expect from your next shows?

There will be larger venues, exciting catering, loads of news brands – from global names to really interesting up-and-coming start-ups – and the debut of our Manchester show!

Why did you want to host two shows in the South and North?

Manchester is a huge city for the UK fashion industry and until now has been under served with shows of any quality. For some buyers London is too far and they can’t take that time away from their stores, so it makes sense to take the show to them. So far the reaction has be quite remarkable and there is clearly appetite for a Northern show base from both brands/agencies and buyers alike!

Will there be a different offer at the individual shows?

Most of our brands are doing both but there are exceptions, particularly with international or Southern based brands and agencies, where they have traditionally struggled to break into the North, Wales and Scotland.

What is your career background and why does heading a fashion trade show appeal to you? 

I’ve been in fashion sales for 25 years, working on licencing, distribution and brand ownership. Plus, my family were fashion retailers for two generations before me and I grew up watching them sell their wares or buy in showrooms. I guess I was destined to follow suit, albeit on the other side of the table (selling to retailers). Like everything in our industry, everything is cyclical and comes in and out of fashion. The time was right for something new, plus there was a gap in the market for another trade show which JUST Around the Corner is more than happy to fill.

How do you think the industry has changed in the past couple of years?

I’d say that the existing trade shows were diminishing in size and the format perhaps was becoming tired. But after 18 months of Covid and buyers and brands buying and selling via zoom and linesheets, the appetite for face-to-face interaction and physical product coming back into the mix has been reinvigorated. Also, in many cases, independents seem to be having a great time this year as consumers are supporting small businesses and shopping locally. JATC is perfectly positioned to satisfy the increased demand.

What do you hope to achieve in 2022?

We are in this for the long haul – we have a great concept and the respect of the industry and want to grow the show without compromising our USPs. Expect larger shows, a more interactive experience for visitors and hopefully more locations further afield.