The 2014 fashion trade show roundabout go off to a strong start with the Agenda trade show at the Long Beach Convention Center from January 7 - 8 in downtown Long Beach, CA - my long time US domicile.
With more than 700 brands exhibiting, Agenda continued it's impressive year on year growth. The enormous space was jumping with energy and activity. It was obvious that buyers were dropping paper and not just warming up their trade show stylings for the year ahead.
Most brands were showing their full Fall14 collections with Spring/Summer 14 available for immediate goods or fill-in ordering.
Agenda is primarily a men's lifestyle, action sports and streetwear showcase. Market leaders such as Puma, Adidas, G-Shock, Mitchell & Ness, New Era, O'Neill, Vans backed up again. Agenda has an excellent record in retaining and adding marquee brands.
There were also many interesting smaller, more contemporary labels on show. I'll get some of those later.
The women's contemporary fashion section, AgendaWMNS which debuted at last July's edition, nearly doubled it's brand participation to about 60 exhibitors.
Tuesday, the first day, was the busier of the two. The drop in activity was explained by Surf Expo in Orlando commencing on January 9. The compression of the shows is nothing new. There are so many on the calendar these days that many wholesalers are skipping shows they used to do to concentrate on those they feel they have to do. This is particularly true in the first quarter of the year. E.g. some brands will skip the Las Vegas round of shows in February and move straight on to New York.
I don't wear caps very often but have a well selected collection for when I do. I like to check out my favorite manufacturers when I can. At Agenda, there were 3 - American Needle, New Era and Mitchell & Ness.
John Faul of Red Zone Agency distributes American Needle caps. They had an excellent 2 days working important accounts like Kitson, Tilly's, Vertigo in TX, and Swagg in AZ. John slung me one of their promo logo caps at Agenda last August in Vegas. They are a great fit with a deep comfortable crown and a rigid bill.
This season, American Needle is showing a 1930's/40's inspired range based on the the Jackie Robinson biopic, 47.
Bill treatments, prints and patterns are going strong.
Mitchell & Ness were also showing a combination of retro styles and contemporary logos with bill treatments. I love the '80's San Diego Padres jersey that they had at the front of the booth. There just is something about those 80's "pajama" type baseball unis - the Padres, the Astros and the White Sox are my particular favs.
New Era was showing their non-license, house range. The graphic and pocket tees, hoodies, sweatshirts, crew neck sweaters, quilted outwear with shooter patch that are designed to wear alone or to merchandise back with licensed pieces are well priced at $15 wholesale for the tees through $45-50 for the jackets.
Over on the more fashion aisles, I came across Coalatree Organics. Coalatree is a much a movement as a fashion brand. Take the time to go over their website.
The majority of the garments are made from organic or recycled materials. The jackets, tees, tops, pants, shorts and caps are well priced at wholesale with tees at $13.50, shirts $35-50, jackets $40-65, and caps $16.
Coalatree was busy both days working accounts like Karmaloop (their biggest account), Kingswell in Loz Feliz and backcountry.com.
Eme Mizioch, the west coast agent for fun, bright Australian label, TeeInk, was very happy with the buyer activity. The TeeInk tees at $15-17, pullovers at $21-23, button downs at $35 and shorts at $26 retail strongly in beach and resort towns, and anywhere the sun is shining.
The California label, Katin has been around since 1954. The designs of it's cool, relaxed look for men and women are based on the brand's history. The Creative Director/Designer, Jason Rodriguez takes inspiration from news articles, photo shoots, media exposure over the years and ties them all back into a surf look that has stood the test of time. The snapback and camper caps, and jackets made of board short material are a great idea that are sure to retail strongly.
Agenda keeps going from strength to strength. I won't be at the NY edition this week but will be at the Vegas show in mid-February. Agenda was one of the busiest of the August round of Vegas shows. By the looks of things they will not trouble keeping it up.