Posted by pbc_admin
on January 07, 2012

The first apparel trade show of the year in Los Angeles is also the closest to home. The Agenda Trade Show is literally two minutes down Ocean Blvd in the lovely seaside burgh we call home, Long Beach, California (a.k.a. the LBC).

The cavernous Long Beach Convention Center is home to the west coast version of Agenda (also held in NYC and Tokyo later this month). Agenda is a lively showcase of streetwear, lifestyle, and action sports collections. It’s got the lot – from clothing, footwear, bags, headwear, headphones, sunglasses, watches, swimwear, skateboards and accessories, surfboards and accessories down to cell phone skins, and everything else I have forgotten to mention. You can find a full exhibitor list here.

The check-in area set the tone. The backdrop was old scaffolding draped with a huge tarp splattered with paint and the Agenda logo. I was definitely over dressed in a button down shirt, jeans and boots – I should have gone with the logo tee, jeans and Converse sneakers that I originally planned (if I wore caps or hats more often, that too). The place was humming.

There was a real buzz when I got on to the main floor – people moving everywhere, lots of cell phone photos and video being shot, and electronica being spun by an above average DJ (rare for trade shows). I started my cruise through the booths by bumping into the line of buyers waiting at the Mighty Healthy – a good sign. The activity, the relaxed atmosphere, the constant chatter, and the good music going filled the huge room with plenty of energy. It was a nice change from the stuffy pretense and anxiety that can pervade the contemporary fashion trade show circuit these days.

It was great to see the very cool Australian collection, Deus Ex Machina. Deus is creating a lot of buzz around town and is about to open it’s own store on Abbott Kinney in Venice Beach. The US General Manager, Julian Heppenkausen (another Fremantle boy) told me that the store is nearly ready to go, and they are excited by the response the brand has received. I like the quality and styling of the classic motorcycle theme.

There were a number of collections with some eye-catching young contemporary pieces, including Elwood, Howe, Lira Clothing, and GPPR.

There were plenty of major brands in attendance including: Puma, Adidas, Lacoste, G-Shock, Hurley, Levi’s, Quiksilver, Stussy.

As usual, Pura Vida was there. 1% of the sales of the ever-growing range of the handmade bracelets and necklaces support the Surfrider Foundation. I see Pura Vida wherever I go.

I stopped by the Aerial7 booth to chat with their PR consultant, Janae Twisselman of JLT Productions, and take a look at her clients’ stuff. Aerial7 began by creating headphones for pro DJs. They are now making very cool audio products for us all with the goal of redefining the headphone as a fashion accessory. The collection is as eye-catching as it is high quality.

We all know those thick rubber bracelets that proclaim, “i ♥ boobies”. In response to that fact that only 5-10% of all incidences of breast cancer are hereditary meaning that most are caused by lifestyle and environmental factors, the Keep A Breast Foundation was showing it’s new body-friendly clothing line. This hip lifestyle collection of tops, tees, hoodies, skirts and pants is designed to wear throughout the day. It’s made from organically grown and recycled materials, and produced using low impact processes. Each hangtag includes a health tip, and 100% of net wholesale proceeds go to the cause. What more do you want!

In all, there were over 450 brands in about 400 booths. The food trucks parked at the back and the bars spread throughout the room were doing beaucoup business. A good time was being had by all.

This was my first time at Agenda. I was impressed by the organization, presentation, branding, energy, buyer activity, and the range of brands.

If you have a streetwear or action sports collection, I would recommend you take a good look at doing this trade show.

Paul Brindley

paul brindley consults