VEGAS CHANGES: After bowing the first Las Vegas edition in August, Agenda is adding two new sections and an extra day to the show.

VEGAS CHANGES: After bowing the first Las Vegas edition in August, Agenda is adding two new sections and an extra day to the show.


Agenda Plans Expansion on All Fronts


NEW YORK MOVES: Agenda New York will return to its SoHo location (pictured) in January, then head to a new venue at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Last August, the Agenda trade show expanded to include a Las Vegas edition. In 2014, plans are even more ambitious for the event, which focuses on the action-sports, surf, streetwear and contemporary fashion markets.

Aaron Levant, who co-founded Agenda in 2003, recently announced changes and new features to the company’s shows in Long Beach, Calif.; New York; and Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas show is expected to double in size in February, according to Levant. The Feb. 17–19 show, at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, will include a new surf section, called The Woods, and the addition of Agenda WMNS, the women’s show launched last year in Long Beach.

The Las Vegas launch included a handful of surf and surf-related brands, Levant said.

“We had a few of our surf guys. Sanuk was there, Lost was there, guys like RVCA that have surf roots,” he said. “It wasn’t anything like we have in Long Beach.”

The Woods will be a showcase for specialty lifestyle surf brands, from international indie brands to up-and-coming local labels.

“I don’t think right now we’re going to be having the big five surf brands on the show floor [in Las Vegas]. That’s really what you come to our Long Beach show for,” Levant said, adding, “I would love to have them, but it’s not necessarily our target right now.”

Another change to the Las Vegas show is the new three-day format, which is a departure from the Agenda shows in Long Beach and New York.

“I really like our two-day format in other cities,” Levant said.

In Las Vegas, Agenda is part of a strategic alliance—with Liberty, Capsule, MRket, Accessories the Show and Stitch—under the name Modern Assembly. Most of the shows in the alliance already have a three-day format.

“We don’t want to be part of the alliance and then have our show have a different date pattern,” Levant said. “We want to make it really consistent and have all the information be the same, so people who are visiting our shows can have a seamless experience.”

New location in NY

For the Jan. 22–23 run of Agenda in New York, the show will return to its 82 Mercer address in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. But for the show’s July edition, Agenda will move to a newly built wing of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

“California is our mass show—700 brands, a quarter-million square feet. It’s a big show,” Levant said. “In New York, it’s like 30,000 to 50,000 square feet, about 120 brands. It wasn’t that we didn’t have the brands or the relationships, we just didn’t have the space.”

The new Javits North space will allow Agenda to double its square footage and expand to a “more diverse offering of brands,” including more surf and lifestyle lines.

“Javits was not the ideal place for us when we were first starting to establish a vibe and an energy—just like Agenda had been in a bunch of weird venues on the West Coast until we ended up where we are now,” Levant said. “Now that we have a few years under our belt, I think it’s time to show people the breadth of what Agenda can offer.”

The new space is accessible from the existing convention-center facility but has a “cool and industrial loft–type” look, Levant said.

The move to the new space also presents a big opportunity for brands looking to showcase Spring lines.

“All the exhibitors from California—especially the big action-sports guys, the big surf guys—they didn’t have anywhere to show their Spring lines in summer. If you’re any one of the big five surf brands, there hasn’t been a great opportunity at a major national show to see your East Coast customers when you’re booking Spring orders.”

Agenda Emerge expands

At the Agenda Long Beach show last July, Agenda also debuted a networking forum called Agenda Emerge, which, Levant dubs, “our version of the TED Conference.”

In 2014, the trade show will expand the event to four times per year, twice in Long Beach and twice in New York.

“We have a lot of access with these amazing brands. We have 700 of them, ranging from the biggest brands, multi-billion-dollar publicly traded companies to the smallest, most innovative, cutting-edge brands. And we know all the founders, all the presidents, all these great creative directors, and it’s such a pool of talent we can pull from for speakers. It’s almost endless. So it’s kind of a no-brainer for us to hold these educational conferences.”

In addition to the trade show audience of buyers and brand representatives, Agenda Emerge drew consumers, streetwear fans and action-sports athletes, such as snowboarder Danny Kass, an Olympic medal winner.

“Everyone wanted to learn something at the conference, and the audience was so diverse,” Levant said.

The lineup for the January edition in Long Beach is still under wraps, but Levant did confirm Greg Selkoe, founder and chief executive officer of streetwear e-commerce site Karmaloop, as a key speaker.

Long Beach at the core

The Long Beach show remains Agenda’s flagship. The next show, Jan. 7–8, is on track to feature more than 700 brands at the Long Beach Convention Center. The show attracts buyers from nearly every U.S. state and nearly 50 countries and features “a true cross-section representing each genre of subcultures.”

“We’re really a youth-culture show,” Levant said. “It’s very different from any other show. We’re combining lots of subcultures. You cannot say it’s just action sports or it’s just streetwear, it’s just sneaker culture. There’s so many different facets to what we’re doing.”

Next up: international

In late 2012, Reed Exhibitions acquired a stake in Agenda. Levant briefly hosted small Agenda shows in Japan, but the access to Reed Exhibitions’ resources has opened up new possibilities for international expansion.

“We are knee deep in exploring international options,” Levant said. “Now being a part of Reed Exhibitions, we have a lot of reach internationally. They operate trade shows in over 32 countries. For us to be able to work with them and leverage their expertise and infrastructure in other countries, it’s a whole other world compared to what I was doing on my own in Japan. You’re going to see some stuff coming down the pipeline using that infrastructure. We’re really going to take Agenda overseas in a smart way that’s going to work.”