Agenda Hits Long Beach To Usher In First Round Of Summer Tradeshows
Additional Reporting: Kelsey Smith
Long Beach was hit with the first round of the tradeshow circuit this summer, as Agenda kicked off at the Long Beach Convention Center. The show saw solid attendance throughout both days of the show, with a variety of events like the TransWorld Skate X Kayo Corp. Cash On The Table contest, Malakye’s The Schmooz, and other brand related events drawing crowds. Take a look at photos from Thursday and Friday on the show floor here:
For a look at the show and new product spotted through the filter of TransWorld Skateboarding’s crew, check out their product showcase from Agenda LB.
Men’s apparel trends that we saw included many brands focusing on their boardshort program. Heritage brands seem to be placing emphasis on developing products that cater to the lifestyle, and while technical features are still a story being told, it seems that the details at the forefront of these products are more about comfort, versatility, function, and style. Vans‘ SturdyStretch collection of boardshorts has been created with heavier weight fabric that is woven more tightly to keep them in place in the surf, and also prevent them from “shrink wrapping” to your skin once you get out of the water, according to Vans Daniel Hernandez, product manager – mens/boys apparel. Over at …LOST, Men’s Design Director Jim Zapala says the brand is tightening up its collection and honing in on what they believe are the biggest trends for next season, which included elastic waist jogger and boardshorts, and unusual prints like the brand’s Hula Girl crew T-shirt.
Burton is another brand continuing to build on its lifestyle collection that includes boardshorts and camping gear, and was using Agenda to speak to a crossover audience that the brand has seen grow over the years. In the same vein, Volcom was touting its adventure pack which they have dubbed Mod-Tech Surf Vitals, and includes a boardbag, dry sack, wet sack, tech towel, bucket hat, sandals, an umbrella, and a storm jacket.
The show was introducing a fair amount of new, emerging brands, and the response from retailers was resoundingly positive. We caught up with Bobby Adbel, co-owner of Jack’s Surf Shop, who was very impressed with professional surfer Luke Egan and industry veteran Bruce Beach’s new surf apparel brand Depatcus. After talking with Beach and Egan later that day, they reported a very successful debut of the brand, with positive reception from many of the major core surf retailers. Josh Kerr and Chippa Wilson’s new brand, VNDA, pronouned “unda,” was also grabbing attention of surf and boutique shops alike with its new spin on comfortable travel-inspired pants and shorts for men and women. The brand has been performing well at LA’s Just One Eye as well as San Diego’s Emerald City Surf Shop, says co-founder Greg Fernandez.
Jack’s women’s buyer Nicole Maggard was also liking the new Amuse Society collection from industry vets Summer Rapp and Mandy Fry. After taking a spin through their collection, which includes feminine neoprene swimsuit silhouettes with laser cutouts and tassel detailing, we learned that the brand also had a solid offering of apparel pieces like handbeaded sweaters, studded skirts, and other items that exemplify the brand’s tagline Beach Vida Bling. …Lost also brought its women’s collection back after a short transition from its licensee agreement. The brand has retained its designer Rachel Ann Rainwater to continue growing the Boho-inspired line.
The convention center was just as packed on Friday morning, as buyers and brands returned to the show floor for more appointments. Agenda The Break was filming skate-specific interviews throughout both days in The Berrics with help from the staff at TransWorld SKATEboarding, who was on hand interviewing execs and athletes.
One theme that seemed to resonate across many brands was programs that give back. Absolute Distributors, parent company to Z-Flex and Penny, had a good presence at the show. While Z-Flex vet Eddie Gomez was setting up boards for groms in The Berrics, we met with Brad Hooker, Absolute marketing coordinator, who gave us the details behind Penny’s latest collaboration with IRide IRecycle’s Art of Board. The two companies have created a cruiser board with an organic, biodegradable deck designed using art from Art of Board’s recycled textiles. The boards, which will be a made in a limited run of 1,000, hit retail July 21. Art of Board also gives back a portion of its overall proceeds to help fuel its skateboard recycling program, I Ride I Recycle, which has been implemented by many core shops across the country.
Element Eden is another brand giving back with its advocates program. For Spring 15, the brand is on collaborations with a myriad of different causes it supports, including The Kind Campaign with advocates Lauren Parsekian and Molly Thompson, who have created a documentary and international school programs to put a stop to girl bullying. Yea Nice is also launching a one-for-one program with its beanie collection, according to Co-founders JJ Thomas and Josh Sherman.
On the apparel side, Dakine was showing its first-ever men’s and women’s surf apparel collection to retailers and receiving positive feedback from several key accounts like HSS, according to Marketing Manager Micah Nickens. On the men’s side, The brand is zeroing in on its watermen story, which includes team riders Albee Layer and Stephen Koehne, and emphasizing the crossover that exists between the fishing and surfing lifestyles with a couple of key pieces in the collection like reflective jackets and utilitarian boardshorts called Pole Benders.
Boardshorts were also a major focus for Spring ’15 with Billabong, Body Glove, and new brand Depactus, who was also touting its strong watermen’s program which includes its team of Men of Extraordinary Pursuits (MEP’s) Chris Christensen, Matt Meola, Mark Healey, and Ry Craike. For women’s swim, high-neck halter tops and one-pieces, cropped wetsuit tops and rashguards, and off-the-shoulder short sleeve cropped tops were popping up across the board. Some standouts included Billabong‘s Surf Capsule collection, Seea‘s take on the high-neck one-piece The Tofino, and Amuse Society‘s sleek neoprene one-pieces with laser cutout and tassel detailing.