It's official. Streetwear has gone corporate. This year's Agenda in New York was held at the Javits Center, a major step up for the tradeshow that's used to having a packed house downtown by the Lower East Side. With this increase in space, came some positives: more space to breathe, larger booths that felt like lounges, and dope art installations (especially the Mighty Healthy x Kevin Lyons "Rotten Apple" Mural).
For us, it was a monumental moment in the development of the Superego brand because it was the first time many of the team members got to meet face to face. We've all heard each other's voices over the phone, and essentially memorized each other's e-mails, but meeting in person helped solidify the brotherly bond which holds up Superego.
To say we're cut from a different cloth, is literally a description of all members and their roots: Jimmi Hundreds & Los came down from Massachusetts, TLark and Mike Math flew in from Los Angeles, MNarks and S. Diddy swooped in from Jersey, and the New York boys Marz, MuffinMilk, and Ian all checked in. On top, of that two of our brand ambassadors, Alex from Orlando (Owner of NxLabel) and Marcus came down from Massachusetts to kick it.
Over the two days, the crew got to link up with streetwear giants Jeff Staple & Nicky Diamonds, and the celebrities that stopped by the event (probably to collect the free gear they don't want to spend on) such as Bow Wow, DJ Clark Kent, Waka Flocka Flame, MMG's Gunplay, and TDE's first female SZA. After sippin' on some complimentary beer and getting some promos items (such as water gun UZIs courtesy of Crooks N Castles), we began assessing brands on their outlook on sustainability.
The responses we received all fell within the same general category of "It's an important aspect of the fashion industry these days and there is an opportunity for streetwear to bridge that gap and bring sustainability to the younger generation." And when asked if they'd release a sustainable collection, many of the brand representatives admitted that they have tried to capture that segment of the market, but it just didn't connect with their audience in the same way, and sales were lackluster.
After assessing this arena full of streetwear heavyweights, we understood why Superego is important, why we're cut from a different cloth. We're the only ones going out to these tradeshows, to these events, and to these audiences and outright telling brands they need to step up their game. Releasing a collection that features sustainable fabrics shouldn't be done as a marketing gimmick, it should be done as the new standard. Streetwear shouldn't have to sell sustainability as a product "bonus," brands should already be consciously incorporating it into their manufacturing process.
Other than the consideration of sustainability, the "new & improved" Agenda tradeshow didn't feel like what streetwear is suppose to feel like. Streetwear is built on a counter-culture fueled by the young kids who don't know any better and do it out of passion. The previous Agenda shows felt like a bunch of people just hanging out with a casual vibe, all the while buyers and sales reps cemented deals. The most recent one felt different, a bit awkward, as many of the brand reps were older white guys, who kind of made you take a second, confused look at your favorite brand like "Wait, these are the dudes running the show?" and honestly, tarnished the brand image you had in your mind. Maybe this is just another sign that streetwear is ready for change, and we're ready to change it.