It used to be ASR and MAGIC. Those were the tradeshows for brands in our category. ASR was the Action Sports Retailer show in San Diego, it was a colossal skate/snow/surf circus that for the most part, ignored independent, smaller, Streetwear brands like The Hundreds. And then you had MAGIC, a broader fashion tradeshow in Las Vegas twice a year that embraced the multi-million dollar booths of the urbanwear boom. Also largely ignoring the little dudes.
Not only were we financially unable to get into either of those tradeshows to exhibit our brand and meet retailers, we really didn’t fit. We were the underdogs, and so we found a home with an underdog show – one that appreciated and understood an indie, organic brand – and that was Agenda. For our first tradeshow, back when Agenda happened in downtown Los Angeles, there was just a roomful of exhibitors (most are extinct). Agenda’s founder, a young Aaron Levant, welcomed us in, believed in The Hundreds, and essentially showed us the ropes of how the game is played. He let us borrow a rack (we came ill-prepared) and dragged wary buyers to our booth, forcing our line upon them. We made few sales that week, but we gained experience, and more importantly, we discovered a tradeshow that stood for everything The Hundreds believed in.
The Hundreds never left Agenda, and as we grew, the tradeshow did so exponentially. Today, ASR is absent, MAGIC is affected by Agenda, and if you are a key player in Streetwear or Action Sports, you are involved with Agenda Show. Somehow, Aaron has managed to keep the cream of the underground and bridge the mainstream, more established players. It’s the tradeshow for a new age, where you can’t really ignore the little guy anymore, and you can’t just be all about the dollars. No, the Internet has equalized all of that. You gotta invoke personal relationships between exhibitors and vendors and provide an open, conducive, professional environment for work to transpire. You have to recognize raw, undiscovered talent and cradle it to keep your show relevant, and you need the big dogs to anchor the commerce.
Agenda did it. A young guy named Aaron Levant did it. Congratulations Aaron! It has been a real pleasure to be a part of Agenda’s history.
video by Zach Marshall