Complex Con, Has to be one of the weirdest conventions to come about in the last decade, the brain child of creatives Marc Ecko, Pharrell Williams, and Takeshi Murakami was set loose November 5 & 6 of 2016. This con threw any who attended it for quite a loop. The sheer amount of artists, musicians, and actors in attendance was enough to make anyone even slightly interested in pop culture, music, or design to stand in open mouth appreciation. For the first ever convention it garnered a huge amount of attention bringing out quite a lineup with performers like: Travis Scott, Pharrell Williams, 2 Chains, Cousin Stizz, Migos, and Virgil Abloh, just to name a few headliners. We haven’t even mentioned that Kid Cudi himself checked out of rehab just to do a performance at the first night’s show, and Kanye west was even rumored to be in attendance as well. He never showed…as expected of the Louis Vuitton don, but quite honestly he wasn’t even needed to bring in every hype beast and FIDM graduate from a 100 mi radius. The convention spanned 2 nights with a large show floor and rest area (designed by Snarkitecture) and hosted a great number of panels(over 100 pop ups). Some of the panels were simply about the emerging of new clothing brands and ranged to deep talks about politics, as was the case with Lil B discussing the role of Social Media in today’s political world and allowing the immediate response and viewing of injustice in society, or Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dogg chatting about previous success and the upcoming N*E*R*D* Album.
The concerts quite honestly were the main attraction and premier highlight of the Con, with Kid Cudi to do a show on the first night, the tension was high as he had reportedly just finished rehab and was also beefing with drake/kanye, so his mental status was definitely in question, with everyone worried that he would either quit the show halfway or not appear at all. This wasn’t the case as the man himself appeared on stage in a strange getup reminiscent of a hospital gown and proceeded to run through almost his entire discography. Fans literally lost their minds when he came out on stage to perform.
Now, one of the things to do in between day concerts was taking a tour of the main sales floor. Just like a dream come true, cult clothing and art littered the show floor with brands like Bape, Anti Social Social Club, RSVP Gallery, Modernica, Rare Panther, Undefeated, Nike, AWGE, UNION, Billionaire Boys Club,and what felt like a million more. All close nit brands that had lines out the door and wait times for certain brands like Bape and A.S.S. Club spanned for upwards of 3 hours, making for quite a long day, and virtually impossible if you had to get to a Panel or make a certain concert. The main booth for Complex Con was selling limited pieces of the Takashi Murakami branded merch and this was just as long , with many pieces selling out within the first hours of opening day.
Honestly all together the entire con was what I imagined charlie saw when Willy Wonka opened up his factory for the golden ticket winners. A huge eclectic mix of the most random, weird and stunningly beautiful art and musical performances of the last few years all mixed into one giant arena in Long Beach. Travis scott jumping onto security guards, Pharrell and Snoop Acapella performances, and Murakami visuals as far as the eye could see made for a very satisfying near end experience to 2016, showing us a tiny glimpse to what the future may hold for Fashion, Music and of course Complex Con 2k17.
Only if we make it that far 😉