Quiksilver Women’s collection, including their new Juniors line had buyers and media buzzing.

Photos by Tom Wallace

Despite the fact that we’re in the thick of fashion trade show season at a time when retail sales in many categories for youth culture are at a record level of stagnation, we were looking forward to seeing what Class@ASR would be up to August 13-15 in San Diego. We were not disappointed. Here, under the cool ambience that could easily pass for a hipster club in NYC or downtown LA, the mix of brands and layout provided an interesting take on what’s possible with small trade shows with a surf and street-inspired edge.

The greatest surprise was the number of swimwear brands now in Class@ASR, located right next to a new SwimLounge which also hosted the ASR Runway Show. Inside Class’s swimsuit area where brands such as Despi -a featured brand from Italy and Brazil, B-Swim, Lucky Brand Swimwear, Quiksilver Girls including their new collection for Juniors which debuted at Agenda and once again, was packed throughout the show, Luli Fama, Maaji Swimwear, Vix Swimwear, and Betsy Johnson. While some swimsuit companies were still on the main floor of ASR, the intimate setting and smaller booths inside the moody division of Class@ASR made it very easy to make your way through this section and get a sense of where bikini and swimwear trends are headed.

LRG’s latest including a nautical striped theme for women.

Class@ASR was also host to many brands that are not yet holding companies, but do have a certain cache about them, including WESC, which was probably the anchor brand within this area. WESC not only showcased their full collections, including denim and designer headphones, but there was buzz about their new footwear collection, which is actually debuting this week at Project. Fortunately we were able to get their new Footwear catalogue and get a first glimpse of their skate and tennis-inspired sneakers in the classic WESC colorways, including a Stash collaboration. This seems like the next logical step for this brand. Coming off of their new store opening in Aspen, CO, its brands like this make you wonder why some brands are doing much better than others in this wobbly recession.

Nikita was on hand as well -a smaller booth, but it didn’t really matter because clearly they were busy meeting with key accounts. Other brands such as Insight, LRG, Nixon including a nice display for their ongoing accessories collection including backpacks and luggage, Stussy, Matix, RVCA, Ezekiel, Original Penguin, Zoo York, Atwater, True Love False Idols, and Creative Recreation added to the fact that there’s definitely an interesting mix of heritage brands, surf and skate inspired, and streetwear.

Neuw is a new denim line which debuted at Class@ASR.

A new brand to note is Neuw which several people we noticed, retweeted when we first came upon this denim company. Based out of Sweden, the designers for Neuw are the former designers from Lee and Wrangler, which gives you an idea of the potential depth of this new denim line. Their washes and specific details in styles (such as darted knee areas for a skinnier fit), gave clues as to how this brand may be a challenger in denim in the near future. They, too, are showcasing at Project next.

Clocky, created by Mason Brown, the designer and founder of Cardboard Robot, which debuted at Agenda with it’s cardboard accessories also showcase at Class@ASR, including their new collection of T-shirt graphics.

Other interesting elements of Class@ASR were several lounge areas for networking or blogging, the Barracuda Haircut area, Analog’s PLA art show, and an entire Playground Game area which provided a fun break for various exhibitors.

Not to say that the main floor of ASR and Crossroads, the skate show across the street, or the surfboards expo of Sacred Craft weren’t important parts of the overall experience in San Diego last weekend, but Class@ASR felt like the strongest component based on the brands, the business, and aesthetics.

Stories posting soon on ASR and Crossroads.

Cool features at Class@ASR like this skateboard wheel display made the show floor rather interesting.

The ambience of Class@ASR is like a hipster club, complete with a middle section for DJ’s and lounges. Moody lights and black curtains add to the atmosphere of this show.

More classic looks coming from streetwear brands.

Nixon, the accessories brand known for unique watches, has expanded greatly, now with an entire luggage collection.

Mason Brown from Cardboard Robot debuts his Clocky accessories and T-shirt graphics. He also wears two Nixon watches on a regular basis.

Zoo York at Class@ASR were a part of the mix of streetwear and surf.

Basic hoodies in simpler pallettes are a part of key sports styles for Spring 2011.