ComplexCon 2018, a celebration of today’s youth culture

Back in 2002, fashion designer Marc Ecko launched Complex magazine, a bi-monthly magazine that showcased the latest news in hip-hop, fashion, and pop culture. Since then Complex has grown into a media empire spawning several well-known brands such as “First We Feast”, “Pigeons and Planes” and “Sole Collector.”

Today Complex media is the first and foremost outlet that reports on the trending topics that surround today’s youth culture. Hip-Hop, fashion, sports, and sneakers are just some of the topics that Complex reports on a daily basis. Over the weekend Complex held its third annual ComplexCon, a two-day event in Long Beach, CA, that brought the finest in today’s pop culture.

Before the doors even opened up, fans stood outside waiting in a line that wrapped around the block just to get inside the event. The main hall of ComplexCon is dedicated to the latest in art and fashion. ComplexCon gave attendees the chance to purchase limited edition apparel at some their favorite brands that brought special items just to ComplexCon. Brands such as Adidas, Bathing Ape, Puma, Billionaire Boys Club, and OVO are just a few of the retailers that were in attendance.

Internationally known and prolific contemporary artist Takashi Murakami made another visit to this year’s ComplexCon as well, and bringing with him was his art production company KaiKai KiKi. Takashi curated a space in the ComplexCon hall to exhibit the first ever “Sneakers for Breakfast.” The exhibit featured a range of custom sneakers that were designed by six of the most prominent footwear designers and innovators. Attendees of the event were also given the chance to stop by the exhibit and place a bid in a silent auction to win one of the sneakers, with proceeds going to charity.

Aside from fashion and art, ComplexCon invites guest speakers to have a conversation about some of the biggest topics that surround today’s youth. Speakers that made an appearance included hip-hop artist Nas, actor/artist Jaden Smith, Media mogul Gary Vaynerchuck, writer/actress Issa Rae, and fashion designer Virgil Abloh, just to name a few. The guest speakers were able to talk and educate ComplexCon attendees on topics that hold the utmost importance in their lives today and inform the youth on how they can use their culture to change the future.

One of the most popular brands under the Complex Media umbrella is “First We Feast,” an outlet that dives deep into today’s cultural obsession with food. So it was only fitting that outside, ComplexCon had set up the First We Feast Lagoon, an area that brought some of the most popular foods across Los Angeles. The First We Feast Lagoon closely resembled a farmers market, with tents strung up by the masses. But instead of selling farm fresh fruits and vegetables, or grass-fed beef, these tents were cooking and serving up foods such as hot chicken, cheeseburgers, Texas BBQ, and deli-style sandwiches. Of course, the First We Feast lagoon wouldn’t be complete without one of its popular shows making an appearance. Hot Ones, the show that brings in celebrities and makes them eat ten spicy chicken wings, was in the lagoon selling some of their own hot sauces to its adoring fans, with even the host Sean Evans making an appearance to sign autographs and take pictures.

Rounding out ComplexCon was the Pigeons and Planes arena. Music fans were able to step inside the arena to catch some of their favorite hip-hop artists perform. Musical guests included artists such as Future, Action Bronson, Rae Sremmurd, Vince Staples, T-Pain, and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie.

It was my first time attending ComplexCon and it was definitely something to experience, seeing thousands of fans storm the hall to buy some of the latest in fashion and merchandise. But most importantly it was a way for them to appreciate the culture that has birthed a lifestyle for them. To some people, they would consider it as “Hip-Hop” culture, but over the years it has expanded beyond just being that. What ComplexCon brings is the idea that even at a time where people might feel divided, we can still recognize our gratitude towards a culture that seizes to identify with a certain type, color, or race.

*We would like to thank Warner Bros, for sponsoring us to attend this year’s ComplexCon.

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