On Sunday, I explored the Exhibit Hall more since I didn’t have much chance to do so on Saturday. Exhibitors, sponsors, and artists (Artist Alley) were all hosted in the same huge space. I got lost a few times trying to look for specific booths! I did find the food section in the early afternoon finally when I heard from a friend that they had a bunch of food vendors in the Exhibit Hall. There are the normal Javits Center convention food options of course, and food trucks outside the con, but the food vendors I’m referring to are the actual vendors in the Exhibit Hall renting space to sell food and beverages. Food vendors included local NYC spots like Go Go Curry, RESOBOX, Tea & Milk, and Takumi Taco. For lunch, I decided to try Takumi Taco and the loaded nachos I got were delicious and filling. I hope they have local vendors back again in the Exhibit Hall next year!
While in the Exhibit Hall, I was able to snag an interview with Brian Balico, the designer of the Valeza fashion brand. Brian also let me know that Valeza is his middle name! How cool is that? The Valeza brand features original anime art on streetwear styled clothing and accessories. The latest collection features hoodies, coach jackets, zip-up jackets, bomber jackets, quilted jackets, and trendy backpacks. At first, his brand wasn’t like it is today and didn’t have heavy anime influence. It was originally surf-and-skate style. He decided to try doing something anime-oriented and completely rebranded in 2018. That’s when things really took off with the brand and he showed up to a convention with 300 pieces and returned with only 50 pieces left. Then, Brian decided to target more anime conventions, and this year, he started doing a lot of anime conventions like AnimeNorth in Canada, AnimeNEXT in NJ, AnimeMatsuri in TX, and more. Brian’s products are generally exclusive for each season and once his stock sells out, he doesn’t restock the same products after the season ends. If something is very popular, he may re-release but he’ll change something up so it’s not exactly the same as before. This allows the pieces to be more exclusive and more flexibility for new products each season. Looking forward to seeing the next designs from Valeza! Check out the full interview on our YouTube channel as well.
In the Exhibit Hall, the Lumica stage also caught my attention. There seemed to be a nonstop party going on over there! There were spontaneous dance parties on the con floor to anime theme songs, people doing fan chants to their favorite idols’ songs (complete with light sticks), and more.
It was sad when the con came to an end because there was so much more I wanted to do but didn’t have the time, but I’m also looking forward to what AnimeNYC brings next year. I highly recommend this con for any anime fans out there! There’s so much anime content and programming–you’ll never be bored at this con. See you at the next con!