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Turning a storied retailer into a community hub - ComplexCon is the biggest example of street culture evolution.
WHAT'S THE HYPE?
ComplexCon is a two-day event that transforms the Long Beach Convention Center into a Valhalla for cool sh*t.
This year, the event focused on enlightenment and empowerment of the individual, reflecting the issues and conversation that permeate and influence culture today, from entertainment to art and politics.
Recently, street culture, its associated clothing, and the brands which have stemmed from it are no longer relegated to speciality shops and boujee, cool-guy boutiques that the fashion cognoscenti had to lead you into.
Realistically, it hasn't been that way for a while.
Why? Primarily, because of the pioneers that have proven their parents wrong and showed a new generation that it is possible to not just "make it" in the creative industry, but actually make it big. Nowadays, you can find those pioneers at ComplexCon.
Welcome, to ComplexCon 2018
LEFT: Adidas | RIGHT: Bait
Renowned for its focus on streetwear, hip hop and graphic art - ComplexCon exceeded all expectations, offering more of a 'cultural anthropology, with a dash of Planet Earth' style event...
The two-day spectacle was divided into three main sections:
- Panels and Conversations.
- Musical Performances.
- The Marketplace.
The Marketplace hosted an epic mass of booths and installations, from major brands like Adidas and Reebok, to the impressively, still-hyped Bait and ChinaTown Market's of the world. Included within the masses were smaller labels such as Pangaia - a relatively new brand to the mix who created a capsule collection, made entirely from sustainable textiles.
THE GOLDEN ARCHES
MC'DONALDS | "SNACK 'N DESIGN"
Not quite the stall you thought you'd see at a well-respected fashion outlet, but we're not complaining...
At this years ComplexCon, Maccy D's invited guests to unleash their inner creator with their snack 'n design experience.
1. Choose your item - a jersey, a t-shirt, a jacket...
2. Create the idea - prints, transfers, patches...
3. Watch your creation come to life.
Customisation. We dig it.
Of course, no McDonalds experience would be complete without some savoury treats.
Fuelling the creativity, guests were able to snack on a number of different menu items whilst they watched their creations come to life.
When subculture becomes just culture - an all encompassing driving force that fuels the zeitgeist and numerous memes - it needs the O.G.s and real heads to keep it more honest than ever.
INTRODUCING JUST A FEW OF YOUR SPEAKERS:
VIRGIL ABLOH | NAS | GARY VAYNERCHUK | RONNIE FIEG | TOMMY HILFIGER
THE LESSONS THAT WE LEARNT?
"HAPPINESS NEEDS TO BE THE AGENDA - NOT EXTRA $0's IN YOUR ACCOUNT. YOU DO IT, BECAUSE YOU LOVE IT."
"...BUT YOUR CULTURE - WELL THAT'S SOMETHING WHERE THE ATTENTION IS. HOW IT RELATES TO BUSINESS IS THAT YOU EITHER UNDERSTAND IT AND RIDE IT OR, IT OVERRIDES YOU - THERE'S NO IN-BETWEEN."
"FASHION AND HISTORY ARE THE SAME " - Virgil Abloh
"The most important word is substance."
"It's all about the 13-17 year old. It's what you love between those ages that really keeps you passionate for the rest of your life - what you're interested in then will turn out to be the most impactful years of your existence."
SPORTSWEAR X STREET CULTURE
ComplexCon was able to appeal to the sporting industry with leading brands such as Champion announcing the sale of branded Jiu Jitsu Gi's. Combining street-fight etiquette with disciplined sporting techniques, Champion showcased live BJJ demonstrations over the course of the weekend.
"You Can't Teach Heart"
A current trend: activation design.
This year at ComplexCon, every brand had pretty much created their own little world for you to experience.
Think of a shop within a shop...a few filled with art, some with a mass of products which were able to be customised and some with a combined mixture of both.
It's your product, after-all.
"IT’S A CULTURAL SHIFT—THE DESIRE TO DO AND CREATE THINGS THAT BECOME COOL, HAS BEEN OVERTAKEN BY THE DESIRE TO SIMPLY, BE COOL."
- GARY VAYNERCHUK
STREET CULTURE EVOLUTION
When we speak about street culture evolution, it's an automatic response to think about the progression of music and fashion...
The underlying aspect of street culture, is art.
The art that graffitis the walls, the subways, the suburbs of downtown LA, NY and so on... Undoubtedly, art is the new version of bands. The amount of kids who would rather spend their time getting sick at guitar or banging away on a drum kit is dwindling in comparison to the number who slave away flipping graphics on Photoshop, curating Instagram feeds and painting the images that you take snaps of for your IG.
In this day and age, it's phenomenal to see how far street culture and art have come in a linear path.