Story by Kathleen Gasperini
Photos by Tom Wallace

Only Agenda, the bubbling subterranean underground fashion trade show that dared to go against Action Sports Retailer (ASR) in San Diego for years, and streetwear shows such as the South Hall of MAGIC, could come up with a formula that works better than ever even though the economy sucks. On July 22, the kick-off of Agenda opened its doors in a new location at the Hyatt Regency in Huntington Beach, CA, across the street from the U.S. Open of Surfing going on at the same time. The timing, location, brands, vibe, and did I say timing? all worked.

The halls were packed from opening doors, and the location of the Grand Ballroom with views of the ocean provided an excellent backdrop for business and networking. Agenda in many ways has become the official trade show season kick-off -at least for the West Coast. While many were worried that Agenda’s move would be difficult given the new location and timeframe, it seems to be just the opposite. New York brands even made the trek including Mishka, 10 Deep, Huf, and Rocksmith/Kilo. And the big news is that many action sports brands seem to like the new location, timing, and of course, association with core streetwear brands and are now showcasing at Agenda (even though many will also probably be at ASR, September 10), including Volcom, Es, Arbor, Ezekiel, Etnies, Alpinestars, Gravis, Fourstar, Vans, and others.

Agenda Fashion Trade Show had lots of networking areas, DJ, food, Hit Run live silk-screening in the lobby at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Huntington Beach which made people hang out here.

We caught up from Aaron Levant the director and founder of Agenda and asked him what he thought of his show. “It was a lot more work because it’s much earlier, but it seems to be going so well.” When asked if he would have it again in Huntington Beach and during the U.S. Open of Surfing, he said future plans for show locations “were still a mystery. It’s cool the U.S. Open of Surfing is going on here too, but it’s not like that’s a main reason.”

Actually, some people we talked to said the U.S. Open made no difference in the fact they were there while others said they had more surf accounts pop-in. According to Jaso from Cardboard Robot, “Maybe being here and this timing, was why we have had more surf retailers check us out. Actually, we’re doing better in less than a day with orders than we ever did in San Diego.”

Cardboard Robot booth was packed the entire time. Mason, CBR founder, debuted his side project “Clockie” courtesty of CBR with 333 cardboard pieces.

There was a vibe that San Diego is not cool anymore -fashion-wise. And it’s too surf. This has long been an issue for trade shows there and it appears based on responses from people at Agenda, this could still be an issue which is why they were there at Agenda.

Overall, Agenda was pumping in its 2 ballrooms and in the middle, Hit Run was set up doing live silkscreenings next to a very good DJ. Food was much better than general convention center fare and cocktails were on hand (along with a huge dose of AMP energy drink, a sponsor). Some brands still opted for more private suites, but there were only 2 that we could see. Most others were stoked to be on the floor which was a nice throw-back to trade shows of the past.

Interestingly, the halls were not only filled with buyers and media, but we spotted several brand managers that usually show at Project and other shows checking things out, including a fairly significant dose of industry players. Many roaming quietly, wearing Fedoras, sunglasses indications that Agenda is in the spotlight.

Stay tuned for more images and details in Part 2 of our report from Agenda.

686 X Levi Strauss–yet another interesting collab by these two brands and they had a nice display at the entrance to Agenda. Loving the technical denim snowboard gear.

Alpinestars is on a roll with return to vintage Steve McQueen looks, a new line called Apex, and other things moto-inspired but different–story coming soon.

Some imply that Converse/Hurley/Nike Skate 6.0 was the anchor brand of Agenda. Their booth was big in comparison and their new logo-ing was interesting albeit confusing. At first glance Nike’s 6.0 looks like the “es” logo.

Excellent DJ’s at Agenda

Flud’s collab with Rocksmith. They were across the hall from each other and it was a hotspot.

Japanese raw denim combined with USA soft hoodie = Grn Apple Tree’s Fall/Holiday. Great looks from Grn Apple Tree.

Huf was one of the NYC pioneers making it to the West Coast for Agenda. Huf’s guy is actually an excellent New Jersey surfer.

Greg from Mishka also made the trek from NYC. Brooklynite to the core, Mishka’s collection, which is monster and music inspired was very interesting. You would not believe the range. More soon.

Greg from Mishka was also on his way to Comi-Con in San Diego to premiere his new monster urban vinyl toy. Collector’s item.

Crushing on the New Balance NB 410’s in lime. (The entire mesh and logo glo in the dark.)