Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Agenda Long Beach, January 2016 - More Partying Than Purchasing?

Last Thursday and Friday saw Agenda Long Beach open the US apparel trade show circuit IMG_20160107_111959for 2016 at the concrete cavern that is the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California.
Agenda Long Beach has been on a steady surge in size, popularity, diversity and activity since it's inception in 2012. The show has expanded from a skate, surf and streetwear focus to include contemporary men's and women's apparel and accessories, outdoor, swim and lifestyle collections and industry services. I raved about the show in my review of the July 2015 show.
Last week's show seemed off the boil to me when it came to foot traffic and overall energy. I didn't feel the same buzz that usually runs through the rows of booths and on the open center concourse.
That said, there are some mitigating arguments for what I thought was a slower show.
By all accounts, the holiday season was slow for the majority of retailers. Many stores may not have had the buying dollars available for immediate goods to warrant attending the show.
It rained in Southern California last week. While most of the country would welcome our last week's weather this time of year, locals could have taken the precipitation as a sign of the apocalyse, and thought that there wouldn't be a season to buy for.
Agenda LB may be getting too diverse. The Long Beach show is by far the largest and broadest Agenda iteration. For instance, the Agenda Las Vegas is truer to the original core constituency with distilled street, skate and surf brand offerings. Long Beach attempts to be many things to many people. With contemporary apparel and swim trade shows spread solidly on the calendar in the first quarter, Agenda may have overreached by expanding to so many categories.
I had one industry veteran (who asked to remain nameless) opine that Agenda LB is becoming too much like the now defunct Action Sports Retailer (ASR) trade shows that had a 30 year run in San Diego until 2010. Why did ASR fail? Many reasons. One is thought to be declining clarity as to just what the show's market was. As ASR diversified, did it cause confusion as to just what the show was about and who should attend? My contact thought that this could be happening to Agenda LB.
He also said that the show feels more like a party that a trade event. He noted how much drinking was going on in the booths. He also pointed to the skateboard ramp that made it's debut at last week's show, and said "it feels like just what happened at ASR". By the way, I was nearly taken out by a skater flying off the ramp. 
I don't know about the drinking and partying bit. Agenda has always had a loose and fun atmosphere. I have seen many a 11AM beer being downed as buyers have been shown around the racks. Also I don't know about the comparison to ASR because I never attended.
I didn't see much that caught my eye. I did notice that some long time participants weren't in attendance such as JanSport. The Australian women's contemporary labels, Tiger Mist and Rise of Dawn also gave it a miss.
The contemporary men's and women's apparel and the accessories booths seemed quiet on both days.
There was one new brand that was fascinating. Cooperative of Photography (aka COOPH) from Austria has created it's own category - Photography Wear or Photog Wear or Snap Wear or whatever someone cleverer than I can come up with.
COOPH from Austria at Agenda LB
They design and produce excellent quality and very stylish gloves, headwear, hoodies, jackets, shirts and t-shirts with clever, innovative extras for photographers. For example, the underside of the bucket hat brim and the cap brim are grey cards, the shirts have a lens cleaning cloth sewn into the inside of the bottom hem, the hoodies have a lens cleaning cloth in hidden, zippable pocket and buttons for folding the jacket into a camera wrap or pillow.
So that was Agenda Long Beach for January 2016. A bit quieter than usual. Not a lot that was outstanding. I am going to reserve judgement on whether the show has grown too diverse until after the July edition. 
Up next is LA Fashion Market Week next week. See you there.
Paul Brindley
Principal Adviser

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2015 In Review: The Year in Trade Shows

Here’s a useful primer on the US apparel trade show landscape as at the end of 2015 from Apparel News.
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2015 In Review: The Year in Trade Shows

This was a big year of change for apparel and textile trade shows as new players entered the market, new partnerships were formed and new categories opened.
The ink was still drying on the late-2014 acquisition of Advanstar—owners of the MAGICProjectand ENK trade shows—by London-based events producer UBM PLC when the now-renamed UBM Advanstar struck its first new deal. In February, the trade-show giant announced it had reached a deal with Eurovet, organizers of the Curvexpo lingerie and swimwear trade show, to launch a jointly owned event called CurveNV @ MAGIC in August during the Las Vegas trade shows.
But that wasn’t the only change in store for the Las Vegas trade-show lineup. In August, Urban Expositions, which organizes gift trade shows, acquired WomensWear in Nevada from Specialty Trade Shows. Shortly after, British company Clarion Events acquired a majority share in Urban Expositions, and Urban Expositions announced a new name for the California Gift Show. Going forward it will be called LAMKT.
Meanwhile, in Southern California, 2-year-old streetwear trade show Venue moved to a new, larger location at The Reef (formerly called the LA Mart) in downtown Los Angeles in May, then partnered with Los Angeles Fashion Week show organizer Style Fashion Week for its October run, also held at The Reef.
Southern California swimwear trade show Swim Collective expanded into the athletic and athleisure market with the launch of a new show called Active Collective. Initially held alongside the January Swim Collective Show in Huntington Beach, by June Active Collective was held as a standalone show. And in July, Swim Collective launched a premium beachwear show calledBeach Collective alongside the Swim Collective show. Swim Collective Executive Show Director Shannon Leggett announced plans to launch a swim and active week featuring the three shows in 2016.
It was a busy summer for Southern California’s swim market. After two years in Miami Beach, contemporary swim show Cabana launched a West Coast show in Newport Beach, Calif., running concurrently with Swim Collective in Newport Beach, Calif.
There were several other new shows launched in 2015, including Shape, a new athletic apparel and athleisure trade show launched by the California Market Center in Los Angeles. New sourcing trade show Factory Direct held its first two shows at The New Mart in March and September.
The New Mart was also the site of the first Moda 360 show in Los Angeles, where apparel and accessories showed in a gallery-like setting alongside fashion films and runway shows. In September, the building also hosted a new fashion and technology event called MélangeLive.
American Events Inc., organizers of the NW Materials Show in Portland, Ore., and the NE Materials Show in Boston, brought its footwear sourcing exhibition to Southern California with the launch of the SoCal Materials Show, held in January and July in Los Angeles.
Miami men’s and women’s contemporary trade show Coast added a Nashville show in October and announced plans to move its July 2016 Miami date to coincide with Miami Swim Week.
After hosting its textile show for 10 years in Milan, Italian fabric show Milano Unica expanded to include a New York show in July at the Javits Center. The textile show joined an existing lineup of trade shows that includes Texworld USAPremière Vision PreviewKingpinsDG Expo andSpin Expo.
Several New York textile and apparel trade show organizers—including Texworld USA, Kingpins and MRket— joined forces to launch NYC Textile Week, a collaborative marketing effort designed to make the trade-show trips more convenient, productive and fun for buyers and exhibitors.
Shortly after the official launch of NYC Textile Week, however, denim-sourcing trade show Kingpins announced plans to shift the schedule for its New York show from January and July to November and May starting in November 2015. Kingpins founder Andrew Olah said the shift came at the request of attendees who asked for an earlier schedule. The show also moved its location in New York from Skylight Clarkson Square to Basketball City at Pier 36.
There were several other venue changes in 2015.
CALA San Francisco held its last show at the Westin St. Francis hotel in San Francisco in January before moving to a new open-booth venue at the Fort Mason Center in March, where attendance more than doubled from March’s turnout of 569 buyers, organizers said.
For its fourth edition, Los Angeles Mens Market moved to the CMC’s penthouse from its previous location on the building’s fourth floor. In the new location it switched from a showroom event to an open-booth format.
In August, bridal trade show Couture Los Angeles Bridal Market returned to Los Angeles for a second annual run, moving from Siren Studios in Hollywood to The Reef in downtown Los Angeles.
Upscale accessories and lifestyle show Coeur tried out a new location at the Alexandria Ballrooms in downtown Los Angeles after four years at the Cooper Design Space. In December, Coeur announced plans to relocate to the CMC in 2016.
Business Journals Inc. shifted the dates for its Fall/Winter womenwear and accessories shows in New York from May to April in a move that allowed retailers to be in their stores in the days leading up to Mother’s Day, a holiday “second only to Christmas,” according to Britton Jones, BJI president and chief executive officer. The shows—ModaAccessories the Show and Fame—co-located at the Javits Center with ENK’s Intermezzo and Accessories Circuit.
This year also saw a new name for swimwear show Salon Allure. Now celebrating its fifth year in Miami Beach, the trade show rebranded itself as Hammock in July. But that wasn’t the only change for Miami Swim Week. This year, IMG, producers of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Miami, took a break from hosting runway shows during the July swim trade shows, which included the Miami SwimShow, Hammock and Cabana. Other event organizers—including Funkshion, Hammock and LDJ Productions—stepped up to fill the void with runway shows of their own.
New York’s fashion week landscape also saw a shift with the launch of New York Fashion Week: Mens in July. After years of hosting menswear shows as an adjunct to the women’s runway shows of New York Fashion Week, the Council of Fashion Designers of America decided to launch the first standalone for menswear.
In Los Angeles, the fashion-week scene saw a few organizers drop out in October, including LA Fashion Council and Concept Fashion Week, while new players, including LA Fashion Week and Fashion Week Los Angeles, joined a lineup that included Style Fashion Week and Art Hearts Fashion.