Story and Photos by Kathleen Gasperini and Tom Wallace
Agenda has become the leading forum for streetwear, action sports-inspired, and lifestyle brands when it comes to fashion overall. But the Long Beach show, their most recent sandwiched between a smaller New York version and the upcoming Las Vegas show, is the kingpin of this genre. From July 26-27, 2013, the Long Beach Convention Center was packed with, according to Agenda, a 40% increase in growth in distributors and retailers.
The show has also become the location for finding key trends in upcoming styles for next Spring Summer, but starting with the fashion industry players that walk the show itself. Now celebrating its 10th Anniversary, Agenda has become a formidable platform for industry leaders and has captured the attention globally as a show that leads trends across several categories, namely streetwear which continues to influence designs from couture to mainstream.
“Looking back at AGENDA’s humble beginnings, and now our ten year run, I want to take the opportunity thank all our brands and retailers for the continued support and sharing in our vision,” says Aaron Levant, founder of AGENDA. “Long Beach was the largest show in the history of AGENDA, showing a staggering over 40% increase in Retail and Distributor attendance. I can’t think of a better way to commemorate our ten year run.”
It was at this show that those of us at Label Networks were proud to launch our latest in consumer insights research called “The Future Consumer Reports” as featured in the Agenda Magazine and on their site. The Future Consumer Reports provide actionable research data, analysis, and trend forecasting in key reports straight from the marketplace of youth culture itself in terms of what they think is going on when it comes to T-shirts, Denim, Footwear, Accessories, and Action Sports Apparel.
Other first-launches at Agenda Long Beach was Agenda WMNS which allowed female-centric brands the platform to show their collections, and buyers to discover that there is indeed a strong women’s section within this scene. Brands such as Adidas Originals, HLZ BLZ, Love + Made, Doc Martens, Gentle Fawn, Comune, Han Cholo, Obey, MinkPink, Volcom Women’s, Stussy, Stela P, and others were among the aisle of brands. The mix ranged from Roxy bikinis to flowing draped silhouettes over leggings, beanies matched with street-core accessories, edgy-dresses ranging from punk rock to surfer girl après, and skinny denim. The 80’s and 90’s are also major influences for next year with faded washes, polka-dots, high-waisted shorts and circle skirts.
Agenda also featured more contemporary brands in other sections such as the Woods representing styles that lean towards lifestyle, even the outdoors. The Berrics continued to be mobbed with buyers and industry players, along with many skaters in this dedicated platform for the core skate community. This section features not only skateboards, trucks, and wheels, but core skate apparel and accessories, particularly caps such as Official Crown of Laurel. Shout-out to Dusters California who launched a recent collaboration with Robby Krieger, the guitarist from The Doors (story posting soon).
Cool art installations in the front area called Base Camp always feature something new and unique. This time it was an iconic surf installation by Kevin Butler of a retro red VW bug with and over-sized stack of surfboards. Herschel-sponsored pieces and collabs with Flexfit caps X Agenda logos were also on display.
It’s here at this particular show that you’ll also see the old-timers come out and gain props for pioneering action sports or streetwear. For example, Jimmy’Z was celebrating their 30th anniversary at the show and featured legendary skater and artist Steve Caballero who was on hand for poster autograph signings. Craig Stecyk III and Skip Emblon were also in a unique screen printing/T-shirt poster area and were mobbed by fans wanting autographs of poster designs created by Stecyk.
Agenda/GrindMedia “The Break” Lounge launched at the show featuring a location where brands were interviewed for upcoming video features on GrindMedia, the industry leaders who recently bought Transworld Publications. In a similar fashion to what we launched in 2007 interviewing various streetwear brands called TheLabelLab on video in a designed stage format, The Break provides an opportunity for brands to tell their story to a wider audience to connect with the what’s taking shape at the show.
Some of the main leaders in streetwear including Staple, Crooks & Castles and their Monopoly theme, 10 Deep, Huf, Play Cloths, Wu Tang Brand, Diamond Supply Co., LRG, Mighty Healthy, The Hundreds, Zoo York, Billionaire Boys Club, Mishka, Akomplice, Truckfit, Two in the Shirt were all busy with buyers and distributors throughout the 2-day show.
Many of these brands launch trends, included mixes of patterns such as camo, often now discreetly placed, Hawaiian floral prints, paisley prints, and classic stripes. 10 Deep and Crooks both had variations on the 2-design in one shirt with completely different prints on the lower half than upper and are moving in the direction of more tailored silhouettes.
Frocket pockets whereby a button down or T-shirt will have a wild patterned pocket (to match ones snap-back cap or shoes or backpack) were a part of many leading-edge collections. In streetwear, the mix of such patterns, which may also include animal motifs (ala the huntsman/outdoorsman) are then re-mixed with modern twists in button-down tailored looking shirts, varsity jackets, summer long shorts, and jackets. One of the O.G.’s of floral patterns mixed with urban styles was Leroy Jenkins who started doing this mash-up in caps and jackets way before the curve, and we’re happy to see them back out on the floor at Agenda this show.
Obey has expanded and as we’ve seen in our Youth Culture Studies is gaining as a favorite among today’s youth culture. Krew’s denim was also a unique trend taking place as well as the growth of various eco-inspired brands such as Keep sneakers, Shwood’s natural wooden eyewear, and The People’s Movement by Kevin Flannigan and his footwear and apparel.
Iron and Resin resonates always at this show, not only because they capture the retro surf/motorcycle vibe, but they are a part of the genre that rocks Rockabilly in a stylish, modern manner (think also Comune and Dues et Machina).
Married to the Mob did a unique collaboration with Palladium in their festival boots hightops in neon pink that cover the EDM trends in footwear and bright colors. Palladium has also come out with a lower-profiled “flex” sneaker in bright colors.
Nikita is now back in circulation in the USA and the Icelandic-based brand, and one of the few still owned by a woman designer, Heida Birgisdottir, featured a roster of designs, soft flowing fabrics, all with an action sports, girls-who-ride vibe including their classic shaped hoodies. They also have an entire active section now for yoga girls which can also be worn as first-layer pieces (stay tuned for a feature story posting soon).
Timeless classics from Pendleton with their original Beach Boys flannel shirts, blankets and tote bags were a big hit and mixed well with the crossover of surf culture with what’s taking shape in streetwear. Other classics on hand included Timberland and Dr. Marten’s, and Dickies with their modern workwear styles.
Of course the kingpins of action sports were represented with large booths by Quiksilver, Volcom which seems to be heading into a more classic workwear directions, Vans, and even Billabong despite their recent economic challenges.
Finally, the show wouldn’t be complete without the growth and representation of wearable technologies especially in the space of designer headphones. From House of Marley, to Nixon’s new Blaster, and the latest from Sol Republic, it’s a who’s-who of headphone culture, bringing the crossover of music to the realm of the lifestyle fashion represented at Agenda.
At the end of the show, Agenda launched another first with their conference series called Agenda Emerge powered by Group Y, featuring presentations by Mark Ecko, Bobby Hundreds, Jeff Staple and Johnny Cupcakes which attracted some 700 people to come check-out the latest from what these successful businessmen in the scene had to share.
Next-up is Agenda in Las Vegas, NV, from August 19-21, 2013 in a collective called Modern Assembly which also features (capsule), Liberty Fairs, The Accessories Show, MRKET, and Stitch trade shows at the Sands Expo at Venetian.
Meanwhile, check-out our latest edition of youth culture consumer insights launched at Agenda from The Future Consumer Reports on trends in T-shirts, Denim, Accessories, Footwear, and Action Sports Apparel.