It’s ComplexCon time again. In years previous, the two-day, open-to-the-public festival of all things cultural, subcultural and street cultural gave some media outlets and fans pause. What was it? What was it trying to accomplish? And, amid bright colors, psychedelic Takashi Murakami projections, swag, panels and celeb appearances, many thought, “Wow, what is happening here?”
Not anymore. Now, anyone “in the know” simply knows. What is it? It’s ComplexCon and that’s all anyone really needs to know. Attendance for the weekend numbered into the tens of thousands, making the SoCal beach community of Long Beach, California the place to be.
In the Reebok booth, Allen Iverson released his first sneakers in four years, presenting two colorways that sold out on sight, with fans lining up to have the baller sign their pair. Pharrell Williams, one of the names behind the festival, made an appearance at his Billionaire Boys Club installation, celebrating his 15th anniversary with a collaboration with Human Made.
Puma recreated a 90s mall to release their new RS-X sneaker and G-Eazy was on hand, hanging out. Sneaker releases dominate the festival with Takashi Murakami even hosting “Sneakers for Breakfast,” a circle of creative sneakerheads who made a custom range of kicks exclusively for the event, benefitting charity. Meanwhile it was standing room only, or no room really, at the most popular ComplexCon(versations) panel entitled “Sneaker of the Year” with DJ Clark Kent, Don C, Lena Waithe and Trinidad James, to name a few.
Getting a bit political, the Black Lives Matter booth held a fireside chat in the evening, discussing the important matters that affect street culture. And Adidas soundLabs finalists received grants and mentorships, with Pusha T looking on and helping with the decision.
Long Beach royalty, Snoop Dogg made an appearance at the World Famous VIP Records booth, where he celebrated the 25th anniversary of Doggystyle. Nearby, ComplexCon presented “On the Sticks,” a new gaming series from Xbox and Complex, together.
The PacSun pop up shop hosted Vans and their tribute to space exploration with their new, space grey sneaker edition. Barney Cools revealed a collab, unique to the festival, with Dillon Francis and Gerald. Jaden Smith, of all people, launched a denim line in conjunction with G-Star Raw while T-Pain stormed the house with a full marching band playing his hit “Can’t Believe It.” We couldn’t either.
The list of appearances, sneaker reveals, food, special booths, pop up stores, fireside conversations, limited edition and customized products, live music, panels and all out streetwear coolness could go on for pages. It’s making ComplexCon THE place to be, a new kind of hip circus that comes rocking to town each year, bigger and more impressive each time.