Trent Bush from TechNine and Manager from Nomis from Boulder at Agenda featuring their legendary snowboarding hardgoods, outwear, and lifestyle apparel.

Photos by Kathleen Gasperini

There were great expectations for the Agenda trade show for action sports, streetwear, and lifestyle brands January 6-7, 2011 in Anaheim, CA, as all eyes turned to this emerging show for what it could deliver, especially in the absence of ASR, and the start of a new, economically challenging year. As we anticipated however, given the hype, connections, and streamlined execution of the Agenda crew, it was clear that the show pulled-it off, and with greater performance than some people actually expected.

Packed halls of buyers, brands, media, and pros proved that this is the new kind of show that resonates with today’s streetwear and urban contemporary industries. In many ways, it reminded us of ASR in the old days -with the kind energy from a business perspective of getting things done, to networking in the aisles that you know ends in creating dynamic results.

Specifically, the show was divided into 4 rooms which provided an easy way to figure out the subcultures within the brands represented, including Premium Streetwear in the Marquis Ballroom, Action Sports and Street crossover in the Platinum Ballroom, The Berrics Agenda and core Skate in the Grand Ballroom, and Primer, 20 emerging brands in the cute Elite Room.

Add in DJ’s on a Skullcandy set in the foyer, 3 live street artists painting throughout the day, a range of different kinds of food, drinks, alcohol, and seating arrangements, and of course the top magazines of the industry, including Monster Children, Skateboarder, and Nylon Guys.

One of 3 street artists on-site painting throughout the day at Agenda.

What was noticeably not present was surf (and Hurley). Yes, there were surf-inspired brands such as Quiksilver Women (very cool new collection, by the way), Volcom, O’Neill, Body Glove, and Vans, but more from such brands skate-inspired, music-inspired and street aspects than all-out surf. As we noted previously when writing about ASR over the years, there was a growing divide between surf and other action sports, no matter what anyone tried to prove otherwise, and here, instead of a tense division between the “surf side” and “skate and others side,” replacing surf now was snow -as in an entire Agenda Snow show dedicated mostly to the top in snowboarding brands, such as Tech Nine, Bonfire, Burton, Nomis, Arbor, Gnu, 686, Lib Tech, Danny Kass’ Grenade Gloves (which also does motocross now), and yes, Quiksilver Snow and Roxy Snow. (This has to be making SIA a little nervous.)

Like the SIA show circa early ’90’s in Vegas, the snow area (still small but will probably build given the positive feedback from exhibitors who liked the fact that it’s mixed with street and skate) was buzzing with innovative hardgoods, snowboarding outerwear (which was scouted seriously by fashionistas looking for latest trends), and accessories. Bright, neon colors are still playing on the late ’80’s, early ’90’s vibe, and punk-emo aesthetic of youth culture. (True Love & False Idols captured this perfectly with a faded neon T-shirt graphic with a Damion Sanders-looking snowboarder.) Neon lemon bindings, for example, were not that unusual, as well as angled graphics and story-lined snowboard topsheets. Like a bright, animated cartoon, which takes cues from current trends with streetwear crossovers with animation, cartoon collabs, sci-fi, and rave, the area held an elevated energy that would pop, fashionably speaking, on white snow.

Bonfire Snowboards–a top brand in snowboarding which showcased at Agenda Snow for the first time along with several others that used to only appear at SIA.

On the darker side, motocross is also still very much in the picture with a unique line-up in the Platinum room featuring Famous Stars and Straps, Sullen, Fox, Alpinestars, Metal Mulisha, and Hart & Huntington. Pro riders here mingled with pro riders in snowboarding -a strong crossover to be sure–where black, white, and red remain featured color favorites, as well as tatts as the common personal accessories.

The Berrics Agenda has turned out to become even more important and core factor for this show: It’s one of the few places where you can see many of the independent skateboard brands and hardgoods such as trucks, wheels, decks, accessories, and skate sneakers, mixed with larger brands with internal core subcultures. Based on the crowd everyday in this area, the credibility of the range was clear, serving as a key location for talking shop, mingling with pro skaters and industry players, checking out the latest vids, and gaining new respect for evolution of skate from vert to street, park, and big-air.

Glamour Kills, although not completely new, made a strong showing at Agenda with a solidly packed booth of buyers seeking out this graphically-inspired and music-inspired brand, and newbies (at least to the United States) such as Rhythm from Australia, illustrated the range of apparel and new types of classics that were also present.

Rhythm is now in the USA. Aussie brand featuring some details of the inside of their denim-like snowboard outerwear.

For example, Rhythm’s attention to details, somewhat upscale aesthetic, rolled in well with brands known for quality and trendsetting premium streetwear with either heritage elements, such as 10 Deep, Crooks and Castles, RVCA, Mishka NYC, WESC, 686, Tits, LRG, Hershel, Rocksmith, The Hundreds, and Jedidiah. There was significant crossover with street and all elements of action-sports-inspired brands, as seen with Volcom, Insight, Alpinestars, and Obey.

Agenda also proved to arguably be the new Mecca for latest trends in footwear, mostly skate-inspired sneakers, representing a “Who’s Who” from Adidas Originals, C1RCA, Clae, Ezekiel, eS, DC Skate, Sole Technology, Huf, Gravis, Creative Recreation, Vans, Keep, Zoo York, Native Shoes, Tom’s Shoes, New Balance, Converse Skate, and Pro-Keds. It’s also home turf now for accessories such as sunglasses and brands like Oakley, Spy Optic, Smith, Raen, and Mosley Tribes, to watches such as Nixon, G-Shock, and Vestal, fitted caps from Flexfit and other brands featuring accessories, and of course the pre-requisite designer headphones, from WESC, Siege, SkullCandy, and again Nixon.

Shaney-Jo Darden, founder of Keep-a-Breast, and the latest design that Obey and Shepard Fairey have created. Proceeds of sales of this T-shirt and a girly sweatshirt go to the KAB foundation.

What’s great about this Agenda in its new location was that it provided more space for more brands, but it was still tightly organized and walk-able within a succinct two days rather than a drawn-out three. It also proves how trade shows are evolving, especially in lifestyle and sportswear categories, while setting the stage for great expectations for 2011 trade shows in general, including another highly anticipated Agenda in NYC at the Chelsea Art Museum January 17-18, 2011.

The final cap of course came from the opening night party featuring Anaheim local, Snoop Dogg, sponsored by Neff, Skullcandy, and Monster Energy drink. Rarely do opening night fashion trade show parties attract such hype and authenticity. But this made for a perfect crossover of how music is a vital part of the mix within an industry that tends to live the lifestyle portrayed in its apparel, footwear, and accessories.

More images from the show:

Siege–one of several designer headphone brands at Agenda. Color, style, sound are as important to this fashion subculture as fashion itself.

10 Deep–one of the leaders in upper streetwear, featuring plaids, faded denim jackets in a tailored style, %uFFFD70%uFFFDs feel. Booth was packed throughout the show.

Jim Shubin from True Love & False Idols with a signature T-shirt look featuring a late %uFFFD80%uFFFDs early %uFFFD90s snowboard vibe.Colors, fades, and snowboarder form wearing a classic onesy say it all.

One of our favorites was the cowl-wool long-sleeved shirt from Rhythm.

Busy at the Burton booth, featuring also many aspects of their accessories such as snowboarding backpacks. They also showcased some interesting old-school images of boards first built by Jake Burton Carpenter, thus proving they are the kingpins of snowboarding%uFFFDs “heritage” brands.

Ergo (Latin for “therefore”), has great poppy neon yellow logos on faded greys. Overall, interesting collection.

Yes, WESC and their all-denim dark onepiece! Workoveralls? Rugged hipster? You make the call. This was an eye catcher especially with the orange cap.

Funniest sign at Agenda. Sense of humor in parts of this show were awesome.

Graffiti/street artists on site. Nice duo.

TechNine and their latest snowboarding video. Plus colorful boards and graphics in the background.