Action-sports, lifestyle and streetwear brands offered retail buyers and media a crystal ball into the future at this year's Agenda trade show in Long Beach, Calif. Products for next fall were in focus at the two-day industry event Friday and Saturday at the Long Beach Convention Center.
The celebrity element also made its expected appearance to check out the goods. Out-front pop sensation Chris Brown showed up in time to get his photo taken with Baker's Braydon Szafranski, while inside, at the Vans booth, Syndicate was pitching their latest collaboration with Odd Future. And, as XGames.com contributor Chris Nieratko recently predicted, there's no slowing down the hip-hop skate train: Lil Wayne's Trukfit brand was on display at the show as well.
Fresh skateboarding footwear was the dominant theme of the show, with multiple pro models and brand-new players to be rolled out into the marketplace in the coming months. Highlights included:
-- Nyjah Huston cruising the Agenda floor with his friends and his filmer while his first pro-model shoe was unveiled at the DC Shoes booth
-- Vans' announcement that they'll introduce Chima Ferguson's pro model in June -- their first new signature shoe in five years
-- Emerica's announcement that they'll turn Collin Provost pro with his first shoe in June, which will drop with a new Emerica video featuring rippers Provost, Brandon Westgate and Leo Romero
-- Emerica's unveiling of the Andrew Reynolds shoe, which will debut in July. Reynolds was on hand to show his latest creation off to the media in a private reception. Attendees were stoked to receive a limited-edition framed print of Reynolds' frontside flip on a "Wild Ride," shot by Atiba Jefferson and numbered and signed by Jefferson and Reynolds.
The other big footwear story coming out of the Agenda show is New Balance, who debuted their skate line. Although there were no photos or marketing materials to back it up, word in the booth was that the first confirmed NB# rider is PJ Ladd.
Shops like KCDC Skateshop from Brooklyn, NY, Cowtown Skateboards from Phoenix, Ariz., and Crooks Skateboard Shop from Riverside, Calif., were among the core retailers walking the Agenda show. In meeting with the brands, these shops planned out their fall stock and determined which trends they were going to be highlighting on their shelves.
On the show floor, skateboarding hard-goods manufacturers and distributors were clustered with skate-footwear companies like Lakai and Nike SB, while streetwear brands like Mighty Healthy and Stüssy were positioned near complimentary brands such as Timberland and Sperry Topsiders. Motocross, BMX and surf lifestyle companies were on hand, though in smaller numbers, to show off their latest products.
With scores of companies slinging their wares side by side all weekend, having a unique and compelling display is a point of pride at trade shows. Volcom tradition demands that they have a theme at every show, and they definitely didn't disappoint at Agenda. Back in the day they were all cavemen, or all aliens, but this year they had a massive metal Volcom Stone in their booth. Designed by Volcom marketing guru Remy Stratton and welded by Volcom pro Dennis Busenitz, the metal logo was lit on fire and photographed, making a sick graphic for the T-shirt they gave away at the show.
Pros joined the two-day swell to support their sponsors and drum up hype for their own ventures. Krooked Skateboards pro Mike Anderson posted up at the Delux booth to show off his new line of Loud Headphones and headphone accessories, while Girl's Guy Mariano, fresh off his incredible part in "Pretty Sweet," made his rounds trailed by a string of fans both young and old, all of whom wanted to shake his hand and pay homage to his never-ending comeback.
Jim Greco stayed close to his headquarters at the Baker Boys Distribution booth. He was happily congratulated by his old boss, Zero's Jamie Thomas, for his new Transworld Skateboarding magazine cover, which was revealed to Greco at the show.
Other notable pros visiting their sponsors' booths were legends Christian Hosoi and Jay Adams. The surprise sighting of the day was the notoriously private Julien Stranger.
This weekend marked Agenda's 10th year, and all indications are that this show is around to stay. In fact, the East Coast edition of Agenda is coming up in three weeks in New York City. It'll feature most of the same brands, but perhaps the rappers will outnumber the skateboarders.
For a full list of brands and more information, go to agendashow.com.