Credit: NYC Plugged
Sunny skies, warm winds, and a line wrapped around the Long Beach Convention Center filled with well dressed street wear lovers of all ages.
This was my first time at Complex Con so I had a million expectations upon arrival! Thankful for the media entrance or else I would’ve been in the line forever (a great tip for future complex con goers: get there early, thee end!)
I walked in around 11:45 am Saturday morning and immediately realized a lot of people are walking out with shopping bags, with no signs of returning. I was curious as to what is going on because although I was aware that many brands will be doing exclusive drops at the convention, I did not anticipate what I walked into.
The Marketplace was stacked with brands which have been apart of many of our lives since childhood. Even more inspiring was coming face to face with the CEO’s of the well known companies that showed up to shake hands and provide knowledge on their success. It was nice to see young entrepreneurs that once looked up to such brands like NIKE, ADIDAS, PUMA, now in the same playing field!
Some of Day 1 favorite exclusive drops came from UNDEFEATED, which, was bombarded by overzealous customers, the shop and staff were definitely not prepared for this type of enthusiasm. Air Force 1’s & the 97’ Air Max was on the top of the list!
One of the dopest parts of Complex Con had to be the installations from each vendor! Whether it be liquor brands such as 1800 Tequila who teamed up with artist “Mad Steez” to design a head turning booth equipped with a full bar & goodies or a boutique like Bodega, who is on the rise and really stood out amongst the other street brands in attendance.
Bodega not only did an exclusive drop of the “Sub Rosa” with Vans but they stood true to their name by recreating a corner store deli with a hair and nail salon attached! From the ‘corner store’ they served the customers who made a purchase and from the salon there free hair braiding and gel nail design sessions!
While the lines to shop was close to unbearable, I chose to engage with brands and try my luck at the NIKE & Virgil Abloh giveaway station. Virgil’s giveaway was one of the best because it also shed light on a new organization that I can’t wait to contribute to. The XQ “#ReThinkHighSchool” campaign educated us all about the lack of educational resources for high school students, specifically in the urban areas. The campaign is dedicated to removing barriers of opportunity, so students can reach to their full potential! After learning a little bit more about the education system in the US we got to pick out of a bowl full of locker combinations, which possibly opened a locker to a pair of Virgil’s special edition OFF WHITE Air Force 1’s.
There were many exclusive drops, as we all already know and an abundance of celebrities casually lingering but that wasn’t what moved me during my two days at the convention. What did move me was the plethora of opportunities of growth and development made available for every single person! From the built in BMX and Skateboard Ramps that not only paid homage to the culture that has influenced today’s street wear but also giving them a place to free themselves, to the PUMA idea launch booths that allowed creatives to show-off their skills and talents before the team to earn the chance to work with PUMA 2018 campaign.
The conversations was another great touch at Complex Con proving the weekend was deeper than a hype-beast fest. “World-class minds and provocative topics make for an unmissable series” is how the conversations led by influential leaders like TAKASHI MURAKAMI, Sarah Andelman, co-founder of Colette, the most influential retail experience in Paris, Rick Ross, Jerry Lorenzo and Host committee and cultural director, Pharrell Williams.
The weekend wouldn’t be complete if there weren’t performances lined by some of the world’s best artists. The most amazing experience, outside of meeting the iconic Pharrell, was being up close and center at N.E.R.D’s listening party for their latest project! An exclusive-once-in-a-lifetime experience to listen to the music that will soon be blaring out of every speaker in the next few months first was an honor and needless to say, the new tunes are amazing!
There seemed to be a lot happening throughout the entire day that made it almost impossible to fully enjoy one activity without missing out on 4 other events happening at the same exact time. While I can go on for days about the pros and the cons of the weekend it’s easier to just say the weekend was an experience that led me to new discoveries of brands, cultures and trends which was ultimately what I set out to gain from the conference. I look forward to furthering my relationship with the brands and people that I connected with and I vote for next year’s event to come to NYC!
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