When Complex announced plans for ComplexCon months ago, it wasn’t clear what the event would be. For anyone in attendance, it’s clear that the two-day event that took place in Long Beach’s Convention Center was a massive success. Equal parts shopping mall, trade show and music festival, the event charged entry to an event that mashed together the best of brand design and presentation, art and music. There were also a series of Complexconversations covering a wide range of style, music and culture-related topics commonly tackled on social media forums.
Essentially what the event did was cut out the middleman, bringing all the cool ideas that are rolled out to buyer and a handful of press at tradeshows, straight to the consumer. The unanticipated surprise was the roll out of a number of launches that often included a celebrity component. For example, G-Star’s inaugural collection with co-owner Pharrell was presented with an appearance by the performer. There were also first reveal drops from Puma, Nike, Adidas, VLONE, VFiles, among others.
On both days, one of the longest lines was a Complex x Taskashi Murakami merchandise store, fill with items like towels and pillows, splashed with the artist’s signature, colorful designs. Murakami was also on hand for a fan meet and greet. Additionally, there was a marketplace populated with multiple streetwear brands selling merchandise though many brands simply displayed product, often revealing a new collaboration or project. As much as mall retailers have complained about drop offs in traffic, it was remarkable to see hordes of young people not only paying to enter the building, but standing in long lines to buy merchandise.
While the event was not perfect (there needs to be a better approach to make the event more female-friendly, which one staffer acknowledged and said would be addressed going forward), all told, the glitches were few and far outweighed by the design and music extravaganza that was ComplexCon, an event that the diverse and mostly young crowd clearly enjoyed the hell out of. You have to think Complex’s competitors were not only feeling envious, they probably were also furiously taking notes and mulling launching their own version of the event.