Here’s What Went Down at The Inaugural 2016 ComplexCon
All images via David Guerra
Over the weekend, Complex held its highly-anticipated inaugural ComplexCon event at the Long Beach Convention Center. The event marked an important period for the media conglomerate, transitioning from an almost only online experience to an in-your-face voyage – truly bringing the world of Complex to life. To kick off the (hopefully) annual event, Complex knew they had to set the bar high – and that they did. Complex came out in full force with an insane line-up of exhibitions, installations, pop-up shops, artists, music, food, and much more which attracted a wide audience of the seemingly expanding culture that Complex represents. During the weekend, we ran into people from all areas of the U.S., from California to Harlem and Europe.
After waiting about an hour to get inside, we made our way into the convention center to be greeted by DJ Ebro and Zane Lowe doing a live broadcast on Beats1 Radio. The Beats1 station was housed in a fully-enclosed woodgrain space and featured wide glass windows, granting the audience an up-close look at some of their favorite radio personalities.
We made our way to the floor of the convention center to check out some of the exhibitors and pop-up shops. Essentially, ComplexCon was a Mecca for streetwear; featuring exhibits from A Bathing Ape, Nike, Stadium Goods, VLONE, RSVP Gallery, Staple Pigeon, Undefeated, BAIT, Fool’s Gold, and more. Many of the companies brought ComplexCon exclusives, drawing over hour long waits for a chance to purchase the rare goods. BAPE, in particular, commanded an insanely long line after announcing it would be carrying exclusive collaboration tees with Kid Cudi, Big Sean, and Travis Scott. We waited in line to try our luck with the Nike Air Force lottery and came up empty handed, but when a once in a lifetime opportunity presents itself, you wait in line for an hour.
ComplexCon held a variety of panels over the weekend. The ComplexCon(versations) were held in the convention center’s Lounge Room and Ballroom and featured an all-star lineup of guests. Wale, Vince Staples, Wiz Khalifa and The Game participated in the panels “The Music Generation Gap Debate,” and “The Business of Weed.” We sat in on the “Thread Trajectory: Where Is Streetwear Going” panel that featured Chris Gibbs, Rob Garcia, Bobby Hundreds, Vashtie and Karizza Sanchez. It was fresh to gain a perspective from people that are heavily involved in the streetwear scene on how they see the landscape of streetwear evolving.
After navigating through the floor and exhibitions and grabbing a bite at the First We Feast food court, we made our way to the Pigeons & Planes stage to watch artists like Madeintyo, Metro Boomin, Lil Yachty and Chief Keef absolutely kill their sets. At one point, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia took the stage to present Mark Eckō, founder of Complex, with the key to the city. Sunday’s Pigeons & Planes Stage hosted the IAMOTHER showcase, in which the crowd witnessed performances by Kap-G and Pharrell.