SAN DIEGO – Fallout from the economy was apparent at last week’s Agenda trade show here.
This story first appeared in the September 10, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The biannual, streetwear-oriented show, now five years old, saw slightly slower foot traffic and buyers were conservative. Agenda had about 110 exhibitors, compared with roughly 140 in January.
“The show in January was busier. I wrote more orders then, though I think there are some really quality buyers this time,” said Kylee Fauss, founder of Miss Wax jewelry line. “There’s a lot of standing around, though, and not much business being done – even the bigger brands.”
Agenda remains largely populated by men’s wear, though emerging women’s lines such as Married to the Mob, UNIF and Nikita continue to turn out. The three-day show also featured almost double the footwear of the last show, including skateboarding brands Etnies and Supra.
Lanie Alabanza-Barcena, founder of Hellz Bellz clothing, said the flagging U.S. economy presented opportunity for the women’s wear brand.
“With the dollar so weak, this is the good time to make our international push,” she said, citing plans to expand her three-year-old line into overseas markets. “It’s a tough time for business, but you have to take the chance.”
Agenda co-founder Aaron Levant said there was a strong turnout of Asian buyers.
“The show has really evolved into the lifestyle sector. The 60 or 70 percent of the people at ASR who are actually interested in new things and streetwear will come here,” Levant said. “We like to keep things fresh and a tight group of exhibitors, so we drop about the bottom 20 percent of the brands each year.”
Some established labels, such as Sweden’s WeAretheSuperlativeConspiracy and Culver City, Calif.-based Tokidoki, said they fared well despite the gloomy economic climate.
“This is a show that will only get stronger as the brands continue to develop. We’re relatively young as a brand and we will only go up,” said Ivan Arnold, co-owner of Tokidoki with Italian designer Simone Legno. “We did the show in 2005, took a hiatus and have had a great response now that we’re back.”