We Had Fun With Agenda’s WMNS Director: Vanessa Chiu
Galore’s Phhhoto Booth At Agenda
The Agenda Trade Show. There are endless ways to describe and explain the most diverse lifestyle fashion trade show in the world, but to cut to the chase – It is an extremely rare occurrence in which seemingly every good-looking guy in existence flocks to a single location. You may be having many questions, like, “How am I just now hearing about this?” And you’re not alone. Trust me. Had I known my fantasy man dream team roster, as a whole, actually congregated in one physical location during a specific time, and I could witness and partake in said event… Let’s just say I would have signed up when I was about thirteen. Day to day, my friends and I sit around pondering where it is all these men magically go. Seriously, dream men. We know you exist. Do you stay inside? Do you work third shift? Are you taking care of your sick grandmothers? We may never know, but I can tell you this: I have discovered the one beautiful time of year when these gorgeous, mysterious creatures migrate to Southern California, and it’s for Agenda.
Needless to say, I urge you to attend. If you don’t have a brand to present, I implore you to start brainstorming ideas and pinching pennies to start one; but, if that’s not an option, you can always buy a pass. And, oh, should you buy a pass. *Attends Agenda, falls in love* Alright, so I didn’t fall in love, but that’s only because I couldn’t make eye contact with any of the endless hotties. Not (just) because I’m socially awkward, but because there were literally too many of them gracing my visual plane for me to focus on just one. When my eyes finally managed to piece together a face, the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen smiled at me, and I immediately began to twitch. So I gave up on my fleeting dream of the two kids, mini Goldendoodle, and vacation home in The Hamptons that I would have with this skater hubby of mine, and decided to revert my focus to my job. You know, since I’m being paid to interview interesting fashion people, not flirt with devilishly handsome randoms.
With my attention back on the task at hand, I strolled wide-eyed through The Long Beach Convention Center, unsure of where to explore first. Even as a newbie, it was immediately obvious that the people and brands that surrounded me were members of a creative and influential community. Long-running big name brands were brushing elbows and shaking hands with smaller up-and-comers, and people and brands that may have otherwise never worked together, were discussing possible collabs! It’s unbelievable what can happen when you put smart, artistic, and powerful people together in one place. Seeing everyone talking like close friends, exchanging contact information, and genuinely discussing business was seriously inspiring. The positive reviews and success stories that precede Agenda paled in comparison to what I witnessed with my own eyes. The possibilities for growth are endless, and the minute I was immersed in this incredible event, its value was blatantly clear. Its significance and impact are substantial, and the proof is in the yearly attendance of brands like Adidas and Converse.
Bouncing around in a sea of heightened male energy, I found solace among a group of strong, successful women. We introduced ourselves, and I swear I could actually feel their girl power. Not only did these females have that Galore Girl attitude, but they were talented beyond words, too, and so confident that I was both baffled and inspired. With primarily masculine-run brands, it’s not uncommon for women to get muscled out of this once all-boys club. So, when female-headed brands are successful, it’s like a mini victory for women everywhere. It just so happens that Agenda’s WMNS Director and Axis Show Director, Vanessa Chiu, is a fierce and fashionable woman herself and with girl power to spare. So, of course, I pounced on my opportunity to pick her brain. Here’s what she had to say:
You are Agenda’s show director! What kind of prep work goes into this event?
I have a hybrid role. I oversee overall Agenda communications [as the] Agenda WMNS Director, and [I am the] Axis Show Director. It’s a complete Agenda team effort – there are a ton of moving parts to create the Agenda experience. Agenda Long Beach is the biggest and most diverse show [of the Agenda shows], with 750 branded collections and the Agenda WMNS section. It’s a year-round process: curating brands, assisting in brand storytelling, working with both of our brands, retailers, the industry, and the media.
I’ve asked a couple of brands what they hope to gain from Agenda. What do you feel Agenda offers everyone involved?
Agenda offers a glimpse into the most authentic California youth lifestyle experience, encompassing art, music, surf, skate, footwear, fashion, and pop culture. The Agenda Long Beach [show] is where all these elements collide. [It is] a hot bed, providing a face-to-face meeting ground for the industry (brands, retailers, media, tastemakers, and more) to meet.
As a workingwoman in the fashion industry, what are some of your favorite things to wear to work? Any recommendations on how young women should dress to appear more professional?
If you ask anyone that knows me, my favorite things are big and baggy. “One pieces” would be the best way to describe my wardrobe. I favor large clothing and overalls/coveralls, and functional pockets are a must. Appearing professional? It’s all a learning experience – honing your skills and being confident. I’m very much about showing less.
There are definitely more men than woman participating in Agenda. Do you have any plans to involve more female brands next year?
Agenda started over eleven years ago as a men’s youth lifestyle show. The Agenda WMNS section and the events launched three seasons ago, and they continue to exponentially grow. We host monthly women’s networking events with Love Made Me Do It, which provide a platform for female entrepreneurs to liaise, brainstorm, and meet and greet.
What was your favorite memory from this year’s Agenda Long Beach event?
I would say my favorite memory [is of] the llama that was at Official’s booth in the skate section of Agenda, called The Berrics Agenda, to represent the pro-athlete Stefan Janoski’s 100% llama wool beanies.