Created as a showcase for new designers with lots of street cred but limited budgets, Agenda fashion trade show, which takes place just two blocks away from Action Sports Retailer, often represents the rumblings of the next big thing in youth culture fashion. Inside the show, it’s a stripped down affair, with folding tables and chairs and designers showing their wares to retailers and buyers on clothes racks. But this year, designer a.k.a. Cardboard Robot created a lounge area complete with his trademark cardboard chairs (“recycled cardboard that you can use then throw away”), plus wood sidewalls for on-site graffiti artists. Cardboard robot’s fashion designs are as artistic as wearing graffiti clothing. His famous Deer Hunter jacket with antler graphics, faux fur hood trim, and bullet zipper are the most progressive in his line. But his wovens with stitched patches, and T-shirts all have a special meaning, including the white T’s with sewed on ties.
Up-and-coming artists-turned designers MaiKai showcased their artwork as well as apparel. Their emblem resembles a family crest with a flying dragon, which captures the attention of on-lookers checking out the collection. Their women’s Joan Jet and Madonna wife-beater tanks are classic retro, but it’s in their colored shirts, including pale blue, camo green, and lemon yellow shirts that the graphics and art pop—including “Strings Attached” with a series of hearts.
Down the hall deep inside the Agenda show was an enormous Japanese anime-styled wall hanging. It was the artwork of the brand TokiDoki, designed by classically trained Italian artist Simone Legno. Recently brought to the States to work, thanks to a letter of recommendation by Daniel Leibaskin, the architect of the new World Trade Center, Legno is now officially launching his artwork (again, on T-shirts) in the United States. But as Legno explained, “This is just one design idea—I will be moving onto my next set of characters and thoughts.” The thoughts he has in TokiDoki are the “interpretation of Japanese anime from the eyes of an Italian.” The appeal for TokiDoki is that it’s sexy and/or childish and attractive to young and old. Ripe stuff for a cartoon, video games, buttons, dolls…an entire franchise. Watch for TokiDoki in the next couple of years in fashion and entertainment.
While Agenda is probably most known for its street artists/designers, old school brands also showcased their limited edition designs including Adidas and Reebok. Sitting on tables were rows of very cool sneakers—the one-of-a-kinds you’ll never see en masse. But then, that’s not the point of Agenda. It’s boutique fashion inspired by art, music, and individuality at it’s best.
Other brands of note in Agenda and worth checking out their websites include Sound Girl, Mada, kitsch jewelry by Hollie Ten, Brown Sound, Elwood, Upper Playground, MacBeth.