Words and Images by Agatha Wasilewska
New York City welcomed The Agenda Trade Show this week, and it was a smashing first day for the trade show's debut in the Big Apple. The show kicked off with more than 60 top tier brands from small to large. From the choice of venue, to the brands showcased, and to the overall vibe at The Chelsea Art Museum where the show is taking place, one would almost assume that Agenda's President Aaron Levant was a New York native. His opinions on bringing Agenda to New York are just as spot-on, stating, "This show in New York is not an original formula but we just had the balls to do it, and took the chance to fail. Bring it to New York, and make it cool.”
Unlike other massive trade shows that take place in New York City and beyond, this show has a much warmer and more intimate feeling. The show is spread out across three floors and attached by glass stairs so that you can see people milling about from all levels. The floors are large, but not so large that you feel like you are lost in space, thus creating a community feel as you wander from company to company. Instead of large and overbearing booths, most brands were set up with simple racks and seating, allowing people to catch a glimpse of a coworker in the next booth or snag a high five from a friend.
The Agenda Trade Show motto is that it’s a forum for the most inspired in the streetwear and action sports industries to unite under the umbrella of creativity and freedom. From the garage-run lines on the verge of explosion, to the well-established elite, Agenda caters to the needs of buyers and brands that exist on a higher level of design and aesthetic. With a strong emphasis in style, art, music, and culture, the Agenda experience is as much a lesson as it is a tool. Levant's overall motto behind bringing The Agenda Trade Show is simple, "We didn’t go in to ASR and say we were going to be the next ASR, we want to create something unique and because of that it was a success. We wanted to come to New York City to do something very different, no one is doing surf/snow/skate streetwear trade shows in New York and we saw a white space and a way to come into New York without stepping on anyone’s toes. There is a clear void in the market in New York, and we wanted to infuse it with a trade show that was based on art and street and graphic design. We created Agenda because we knew that the buyer base is shopping in a broader spectrum than the shows are representing, and it was time to bring that vision to the East Coast".
The booths were packed and the appointment books were filled, with most companies working non-stop from 9-6 pm. The buyers were really happy, booking 20-30 appointments a day, and the client base stretched far and wide from all around the United States.
It's rare that a trade shows lives up to its mission statement, but from the first day’s appearances and feedback, Agenda is doing just that. From the packed booths, wall-to wall appointments, laughs, pumping tunes, and the general happy-go-lucky grins, New York and its visitors would have to agree—the Agenda experience is as much a lesson as it is a tool.