XXL Sits Down With Aaron Levant The Founder of AGENDA Show
XXL: Where did the AGENDA Show journey begin?
Aaron: A long story story but cliff-note version is … In the early 2000’s I was working at an LA based street-wear brand called GAT (Gypsys and Thieves). I became one of their interns in the late 90’s, early 2000’s where I basically worked my way through the company from an intern to graphic designer to marketing to sales. All throughout that time as a brand we would attend trade-shows as a brand from Magic to ASR. One of the things that I learned was the the show sucked if you were a little brand. Brands like NIKE & Roca-Wear would get a lot if love and as a small brand you would be pushed in a corner and given a ticket number.
In 2002, I basically created the concept to start my own show and the little guys would be the important ones. I grouped together 30 of my peers and rented a restaurant across the street from ASR show in Long Beach, CA which was the beginning of my career. I charged brands $500.00 which was a fifth of what the other shows were charging at the time. It wasn’t about making money, it was about a group supporting each other. We got about 250 buyers to our first show and was 10years ago. We’ve since gone from 30 brands to 50 brands to 75 brands and now at 650 brands. Over time we’ve been able to get the attention of the nigger brands and they’ve all jumped on with what we were doing. The shows grown very organically over the course of 10years. It wasn’t an overnight success as it may look from the outside looking in.