Agenda Report: Technology, Collaborations, Mixed Views on Women’s LinesFriday, August 3, 2012
Action sports apparel industry trade show Agenda came to a close yesterday with a count of more than 12,000 attendees for its two-day run, according to the producer of the twice-yearly event.
The show, organized by Los Angeles-based Agenda LLC, attracts a range of brands inspired by surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, motorsports, art and music from startups to industry veterans.
More than 500 brands, many from Orange County, presented spring lines for the retail buyers and media in attendance.
Many brands, such as those under Irvine-based La Jolla Group Inc., pushed merchandise focused on technical innovations. The La Jolla Group designs and markets clothing under a number of industry brands such as O’Neill, Rusty and The Berrics.
Surf brand Rusty showed off sweatshirts with built-in speakers in the hood, while skateboarding brand The Berrics pushed moisture-wicking material and ventilation on some of its pieces.
Also on display were limited-edition runs of O’Neill’s Superfreak men’s boardshorts, celebrating the line’s 10-year anniversary, which will hit store shelves in late January. The company’s Superfreak shorts are made with four-way stretch material. The shorts, which retail for about $70, are numbered.
Collaborations were also big for some brands.
Element Skateboards Inc. of Irvine, which is owned by Billabong USA also of Irvine, will release gear for spring done in partnership with Colorado-based camping brand Kelty. Co-branded, limited-edition tents and sleeping bags will be available along with a bag and backpack that should be on store shelves early next year.
The rugged stretch that saw the recent economic downturn and tough competition from fast-fashion brands appears to have eased, with some brands getting back to growth, according to participants in the show.
Metal Mulisha, with roots in the motorsports world, has continued to expand its juniors offerings as the overall brand broadens its retail distribution into more tattoo and skate shops, said sales manager Andy Lee.
Juniors now accounts for about 40% of the Metal Mulisha brand’s apparel offering.
“Our customer likes heavily branded clothing as opposed to the Forever 21 or surf brands that are focused on prints,” Lee said. “The reason we’re up is because we’re not competing with the Forever 21s or H&M, which can do prints at a third of the price.”
FMF, which is also part of the La Jolla Group portfolio along with Metal Mulisha, made a few additions to its own juniors line with some dresses and tube tops driven by buyer demand.
Other brands with no stake in the women’s or juniors market have a more cautious view.
“The women’s market right now, it’s a tricky time,” said VonZipper marketing director and co-founder Greg “GT” Tomlinson.
Tomlinson said that women’s or juniors lines are not something the company has plans to jump into any time soon. Its apparel lineup for men mainly consists of printed T-shirts with some boardshorts and other pieces.
VonZipper, whose core product focuses on sunglasses, optical frames and goggles, responded in its own way to the fast-fashion trend that has continued to impact the women’s apparel market.
VonZipper last year introduced its Dot Dash line of sunglasses for men and women with average prices between $20 and $30 compared with the typical VonZipper sunglasses that run anywhere from $80 to $250.