Written by Danielle Batalla and Areeba Kaukab
Complex Con was held on November 2 and 3.
To see what we thought about the first day, read Danielle Batalla’s write-up below.
Since its conception in 2016, Complex Con has become an epicenter for collaboration between influential people and brands within the fashion industry. The convention especially focuses on “streetwear” – a casual style of clothing that incorporates comfortable pieces such as sweaters, t-shirts, sneakers, etc. Not only does this event focus on the “exclusive” drops in streetwear, but it also promotes activism and education through their talks on the current state of pop culture. Furthermore, the event closes the night with live performances from well-known musicians that represent the streetwear culture.
This year, the convention hosted Kid Cudi and Anderson .Paak as the headliners for the weekend in addition to well-known artists such as Rico Nasty, Earthgang, and Lil’ Kim. Panels included The Rise of Afropop, How Gen Z is Taking Control, and From Youtube to Major Moves featuring Rico Nasty, Sean Evans, Sean Wotherspoon, Yara Shahidi, and more people within the Complex radar. Finally, exclusive drops ranged from Billionaire Boys Club’s collaboration with Spongebob Squarepants, to Dumbgood’s Blockbuster booth and Takashi Murakami.
Throughout the day, “hypebeasts” and streetwear enthusiasts roamed the halls of the Long Beach Convention Center, keeping watch on their favorite brands and other potential drops to pick-up on the way. They featured their best pieces on their outfits, walking with a certain kind of swagger while maintaining a calm demeanor. Amongst crowds of thousands, everyone had a distinct feature in their outfit that made them stand out.
Along with the exhibition hall, the convention also hosted a food zone known as First We Feast Lagoon. This food zone is named after the Complex branch First We Feast and features food from LA’s hottest casual restaurants including Guisados, Ricebox, After’s Ice Cream, Howlin Ray’s, Boba Guys, and many more. Attendees occasionally caught one or two celebrities casually roaming around, with one notable mention being Sean Evans, who challenged them to the “Last Dab Challenge” in collaboration with Howlin’ Rays.
To close off the night, Kid Cudi took the show at the Pigeons and Planes stage, filling his set with the most popular songs from his discography. However, he was not alone. The rapper brought friends Timotheé Chalamet and Pusha T to open the show – Chalamet performed Common’s intro from Man On the Moon before Pusha T and Cudi came on stage to perform “Feel the Love.” Throughout the concert, Cudi played classics such as “Surfin,” “Pursuit of Happiness,” “Just What I Am,” “Mr. Rager,” and more. Fans delighted at hearing the classic songs, belting along while recording with their phones to remember the moment forever. During a small intermission, Cudi spoke to an enthusiastic fan and signed his arm. “You saved my life, man,” the fan says. Cudi smiles and encourages them to sing the last song with him for the night. It was later found out that that fan got the signature permanently tattooed on him.
Complex Con defines itself as the “future made physical,” where new ideas come to the table to be observed, revered and discussed. This kind of concept closes the gap between the creators and the consumers. The two groups are brought together by the goal to move the culture forward. Under this goal, the fashion convention brings an optimistic glimpse into the future of our culture – a future that promotes self-expression, collaboration, and acceptance while maintaining style along the way.
For more information about the second day of Complex Con, we turn to Areeba Kaukab.
Being someone who likes to thrift and bargain shop, I never really cared for going to Complex Con. I had won a weekend wristband and was anxious about the possibility of having to spend the day alone. Though, once I looked through the concert line-up for the day, I made my decision with no second thought. One of my most favorite artists Anderson .Paak was performing and having a meet and greet. He was playing amongst a line-up that sounded like a once in a lifetime experience. I embarked on my journey entirely alone but was ready to make the most of it regardless of how anxious I was. It had been a mundane and trying couple of months, and I decided that I needed a day that was to myself and also completely out of my comfort zone.
I got there right when the convention started and was almost immediately shell shocked when I walked into the biggest hall. Though, as I walked around, I decided that streetwear was more of an art rather than something that I would ever actually want to wear.
Each brand had a booth that was trying to portray who they were to the consumers walking around. It was something that allowed us to see what the brand was without directly seeing their products. I got to see amazing live art pieces and experience different interactive booths that brands had set up.
Once I had my fill of the convention, I set out to watch as many sets as I was able to. I got to see YNB Crew, Rico Nasty, A Boogie Wit a Hoodie, and, last but not least, my favorite artist Anderson .Paak. Out of the performers, A Boogie and Anderson .Paak were my most favorite sets. A Boogie had a super fun stage presence and sang many songs that I had no idea that he even sang. I had such an amazing time singing along to music I was familiar with as well as dancing to the music I didn’t know that well.
In between Rico Nasty and A Boogie Wit a Hoodie, I was able to meet .Paak at the Jameson booth in the food court. Meeting an icon like him has to be one of my most favorite moments of the entire year! I was starstruck but also let him know how appreciative I was of his art. This was my first time meeting an artist that had made such a significant impact on me as well as someone who helped me bond with others over art. Seeing him perform after was also surreal.
He sang three of my favorite songs: 6 Summers, Make It Better and Bubblin’. He made my entire day alone come to an amazing and fulfilling end. Complex Con was an experience that I never expected but ended up teaching me the importance of doing things alone. So this is a post about how great an event the convention was as well as everyday growth. I had learned so much about my love for music, being my own company, and how it’s really important not to let your anxiety take over once-in-a-lifetime experiences.