Agenda Fashion Trade Show finished up on Saturday January 26, with a successful vibe and energy from its expanded 3-day concept that had many in street fashion thinking that there is hope in this troubled retailer landscape. While the show was smaller this time around, which according to director Aaron Levant was also an intentional move to keep quality high, the show floor was continuously busy with orders being written despite the doomsday economy we’re all now facing. Here’s a quick overview of highlights, but stay tuned for in-depth interviews from Label Networks TV with brands including 10 Deep, ALife, The Museum Group, Aaron from Agenda, Livity, Altamont, Akomplice, Miss Wax, Nikita, Creative Recreation, Cardboard Robot, Hellz Bellz, DCMA Collective, GRN Apple Tree, Keep, Jeepney, Mishka, Beautiful Decay, Obey, In4mation, and WESC.
As Dre Hayes, curator for The Museum Vanguard Group representing many top brands at the show such as Creative Recreation, Hellz Bellz, and Crooks & Castles, described the scene now in street fashion, “It’s a different landscape out there with retailers not buying as much as consumer demand changes. But if you have footwear, sneakers for example, that’s a market that isn’t taking a hit.” Diversification was a key calling card for many top brands, but in particular, booths such as Creative Recreation had a steady stream of traffic either making orders or checking out the latest trends in this upscale sneaker-footwear crossover brand. More to come on our interview with Josh Willis from Creative Recreation in the coming weeks as well as Ari Langsdorf from Alife and The Vanguard Group.
In addition, brands that had clear vision, hustled, and kept their designs clean were among the leaders capturing most of the attention. Livity Outernational and their eco-research in design and textures and fabrics continue to increase their awareness in the marketplace as leaders teaching even larger brands such as The North Face Japan, and several others in the outdoor industry what it means to create certain environmentally friendly fabrics. American Apparel also continues its trek to attract customers and had a large presence at the show. Accessory brands to note included Super (the guys behind Pig Magazine in Europe) and their bright colored old-school looking Rayban’s circa late ’80s, Official and their art installation of the inspiration behind their baseball caps, and Miss Wax and her unique earrings and necklaces including collaboration pieces with artist Retna (as well as a very cool booth style) with a refreshing concept that equally attracts street fashion boutiques as well as high-end stores looking for something unique and modern.
WESC featured an amazing collaboration with street artist Stash in their new denim collection and Stash signature blues on T-shirts and hoodies –and upcoming headphones. Other hyped brands included the re-launch of Alphanumerics with FiberOps founder Alyasha Owerka-Moore and Univ store owner Mirko Mangum who created a collection that brings back the style of this iconic brand 10 years later. Streetwear brands such as Crooks & Castles, Palis, 10 Deep, and Alife brought a lot of energy to the show floor creating sort of a trade show crowd within their hall.
Key looks included cleaner lines, less in terms of loud graphics, and attention to details. Denim in darker colors, selvedged, and bootcut were among top styles. In addition, music and art influences are clearly what Agenda brands take to heart, such as Draven shoes, Upper Playground, Fresh Jive, Beautiful Decay, and DCMA Collective started by Ben and Joel from Good Charlotte, Cardboard Robot, Mishka, Obey, The 7th Letter, WESC, and GRN Apple Tree, as well as skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, and motocross influences with brands such as In4mation, St%uFFFDssy, Nikita, Altamont, and the premiere of motocross legend Ronnie Faisst’s collection called Shui inspired from his sport as well as martial arts and the artistry of tattoos.
Free Gold Watch out of San Francisco continued with its appeal of humor and art in T-shirts and drycleaner hangers, coming up with even more statements that tell a story of creative individuality and silkscreening prowess, while the women’s street fashion label Hellz Bellz collection featured a fresh take on double denim baggy pants that are sure to take the fashion industry by surprise. More on Hellz Bellz revolutionizing street fashion for girls later as well as Nikita which showcased an amazing women’s outerwear line as they head back to their snowboarding roots and the launch of their menswear called Atikan.
Other notables included Ciano Farmer who was showing some of their denim and Asian inspired stitching and styles for the first time at the show (more to come from Project), and larger brands coming out with specialty lines such as PF Flyers, Reebok, Royal Elastics, Puma, and New Balance.
Overall, the buzz was about the economy and how to maintain profits when retailers are buckling their belts. Some brands have chosen to scale back on the trade shows they’re participating in such as choosing not to show at the upcoming MAGIC, Project, Pool, and United shows in Vegas next month including Nikita, GRN Apple Tree, and Alphanumerics. Still others are talking about branching into including footwear and accessories or working on their stores.
Yet despite the current state of the union, interestingly there are stories of brands that have crossed-over into new markets such as Official caps clenching the European scene after showing at Bread & Butter in Barcelona and a skate- inspired show in Germany, and the rise of women’s street fashion and footwear.
Fubz from Beautiful Decay probably summed it up best when talking about how he thrives on chaos and if anything, they’ll make it through by sticking it out.
However in many ways this is true of street fashion in general and how the movement started within chaos from which necessity breeds the greatest creativity.
Stay tuned for more in-depth interviews in the coming weeks as we roll out Label Networks TV and profiles stories on top brands in the industry.