Described by founder Aaron Levant as “the strongest show ever in New York,” this year’s Agenda NYC brought in nearly a third more brands and raised its retail attendance to well over 100. The diversity of buyers seems to have grown as well, with everyone from Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s along with core shops across the East being represented. All of which had the chance to see Agenda staples like Skullcandy, Brixton, The Hundreds, and Obey alongside new heavy hitting exhibitors like Levi’s and Hurley, and brands like Praxis Footwear and House of Marley, who represent the show’s progression to include more skate and lifestyle influenced brands.

Divided into two rooms, the lot represented a wide range from iconic skate brands like Vans and Stereo to steadfast streetwear brands like Crooks & Castles, NYC’s Publish, and Rocksmith-Wutang LTD. Even spray paint specialist Montana Cans was present. Brands balancing between lifestyle and streetwear seemed to do well too, especially G-Shock, LRG, Native, and Play Cloths—all under The Foundation umbrella. The diversity gave buyers a unique opportunity to see multiple accounts in the same room while also giving fellow retailers a chance to check out what else is going in the industry. Both buyers and wandering retailers seemed rather receptive to Skullcandy’s simplified branding reboot, keeping their booth busy throughout both days.

The overall feel at both days of  2012’s Agenda NYC seemed upbeat, but rather mellow, which many retailers attributed to the rigorous trade-show tour that everyone seems to be nearing the end of. Although the crowd was slightly toned down, the vibe was good and spirits were high. Even as many sales reps searched for enthusiasm for the 100th pitch of the day, buyers didn’t seem to be phased. Most brands seemed be doing quite well, passing on that shops were in a buying mood. This of course being welcome news as opposed to the economically depreciated mentality seen in recent years. At the end of the two-day event everyone was in high spirits, as the consensus is clear—2012 is going to be good year.

Word on the Floor:

“Unlike the past few years retailers are here to buy. People are writing orders. It feels like the weather is starting to change—at least the sun is coming through.” – Anthony Flores of The Foundation

With many larger retailers opting to be a part of Agenda rather than make individual appointments many buyers decided to make the trip to the city. “Traditionally I don’t come down for these but it’s been worth the quick trip. All the people I’ve wanted to see I’ve been able to see. So it’s good to meet face to face with the companies I’ve been thinking about bringing in.” – Jeff Walsh, Owner of Day One Skateshop in Fairfield, CT

And with buyers coming from every part of the market from Bloomingdale’s to boutiques retailer’s experienced a different level of exposure than before. “It’s so important to meet up front with buyers from every segment. They know what they want and we’ve been getting interest from every angle. So it’s good,” – House of Marley’s Brandon Schram.

Differences between Agenda Long Beach and NYC:

“It’s a lot mellower out here, but more comfortable too. There’s definitely good vibes.” – Loser Machine owner and founder Adrian Lopez

“It’s a very fashion influenced feel here. There’s more diversity and awareness of the brands because the whole [streetwear] culture started in New York.” –10Deep’s German Neives

“It’s completely different than Long Beach, it feels more organic. It feels like New York. It’s a good representation with good chances for retailers to get exposure,” – Bart Strang, Vans Core Apparel Rep

For an insider’s look at how retailers and buyers are feeling about current trends and the show check out our exclusive video interview series Informant.