ComplexCon is back.
After a hiatus in 2020 due to lockdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the biannual weekend event returns to the Long Beach Convention Center with over 100 companies and brands offering products and collaborations made for ComplexCon, as well as brand experiences and artists showcasing their latest works.
Brands like Adidas, Billionaire Boys Club, entertainer Kerwin Frost, artist Uzumaki Cepeda with her Uzumaki Gallery and the newly renamed Ma®ket are returning this year with additional brands like Bristol Studio, podcast Claima Stories with Vistaprint, cryptocurrency company Coinbase, Li-Ning, Tombogo and Tommy Hilfiger, among others.
Last year, Complex pivoted from a physical show to a digital event, ComplexLand, which was a preview of the potentials of a metaverse where brands could build dynamic shops to sell real merchandise through the experience and where Complex could host panel discussions as well.
ComplexLand was not created to replace ComplexCon, but borrowed quite a bit from its big brother’s programming. Much like previous iterations of ComplexCon, this year will feature DJs and special live guests like rapper Lil Yachty and DJs A-Trak, Zack Bia and Kitty Cash, among others, and musical guests Turnstile and rapper A$AP Rocky. In addition, Colombian reggaeton artist J Balvin and KNC Beauty founder Kristen Noel Crawley served as host committee members.
There is plenty more for guests to expect and experience in ComplexCon’s comeback:
Claima Stories x Vista
Podcast Claima Stories, in partnership with Vistaprint, is providing an activation space and support for lifestyle brand Little Africa and emerging fashion label Lazy Cake, both of which are receiving $15,000 grants, marketing and mentorship from Claima Stories.
The brands will be showcased at the partners’ booth which will also feature Claima Stories’ revamped mobile studio, Storytella, where the team will host podcast interviews live from the booth. They will also select five small BIPOC businesses to receive VIP admission to ComplexCon and networking support.
Vistaprint and Claima first joined in May 2021 to launch their initiative, awarding 12 BIPOC brands impacted by COVID-19 over $250,000, design makeovers and marketing.
Hypland x Hello Kitty
California-based brand Hypland has teamed with Hello Kitty to produce the Carnival pop-up featuring pop-a-shot basketball and carnival-themed snacks. In addition, eight installations were built for the space, including a Ferris wheel, retro ice cream truck and boom box. Hello Kitty will make an appearance at the pop-up, and fans can find out when via social media.
“Hello Kitty is a cultural icon that everyone around the world knows and loves,” said Hypland founder Jordan Bentley. “My team and I put a lot of effort into this collaboration and are proud to have created timeless and classic pieces that fans can love for generations.”
Entertainer Kerwin Frost built a multiroom cardboard castle where he is offering partnership products with Adidas, 7-Eleven and Beats by Dre. The castle, which even boasts a drawbridge, will be home to a very limited, early pre-sale of Frost and Adidas’ upcoming footwear release, the Humanchive and Benchmate sneakers, both launching globally 10 days after ComplexCon, as well as snacks, including the co-branded Snack Party Mix between Frost and 7-Eleven, and custom headphones designed by Frost for Beats by Dre, which will be raffled off to two winners to benefit the Hi, How Are You Project, a non-profit organization that aims to inspire conversations around mental health issues.
Kids of Immigrants x UPS
UPS, the official shipping partner for ComplexCon, teamed with Los Angeles-based brand Kids of Immigrants to spotlight small businesses to bring a number of first-time brands to the two-day event.
The 13 brands — BlackBillionairesClub, El Chilito Hot Sauce, UnSeen Country, The New Blue Collar, Zero Turnovers, Gente Unida, Krone Studios, Pasadena Roots, Polymer-Studios, Love Approved, Studio Weleh, Ya Habibi Market and Potent Products — will share the UPS x KOI booth where merchandise will also be available.
In addition, UPS is offering show attendees discounted rates at all four UPS Merch Ship locations and VIP ticket holders receive complimentary ground shipping for one package.
UPS tapped artist Mr B. Baby to produce a live art installation that will serve as a backdrop to the booth.
The streetwear brand cofounded by Mike Cherman has been a mainstay at ComplexCon, and was one of the most popular booths at the 2019 edition. This year, the brand is debuting collaborations with gaming franchise Pokémon, Grateful Dead and NBA Hall of Fame player Dennis Rodman.
Ma®ket will unveil a one-of-a-kind T-shirt at ComplexCon to preview a bigger collection with Rodman. The T-shirt bears the brand name and an illustration of the back of Rodman’s head with a multicolor hair dye and Ma®ket’s signature smiley face.
“I’m so excited to be back IRL with Ma®ket at ComplexCon,” Cherman said. “We can finally engage with our community and get them hype with everything we have lined up and it’s a special opportunity for us to show people what Ma®ket is about and what we will do going forward.”
Rodman added, “I’ve always done things my way and was ready to work with Ma®ket because of how they respect authenticity. They are all about embracing out-of-the-box creativity and individuality and reflect that in everything they do. I’m excited for everyone to get a little preview of what we’ve got coming this weekend at ComplexCon.”
Social investing platform Rares is launching its first IPO for the Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototype that the company acquired in a private sale from Sotheby’s for $1.8 million, setting the record for most expensive sneaker ever sold in a private sale.
“At ComplexCon, the yearly pop culture festival, Rares will feature the actual Yeezy shoe at a curated booth, along with other never-before-seen sneakers from its collection,” said Rares cofounder and chief executive officer Gerome Sapp in a statement.
Investors are welcome to buy shares on the Rares website or app. The launch comes weeks after the company unveiled a $4 million seed funding round.
Sapp continued, “Attendees will have front-row access to some of the world’s most coveted sneakers, with a few pairs available via IPO. As we continue our mission of turning sneakers into an investment asset class, it is important that the message and conversations are being had at culturally significant events such as ComplexCon.”
Ray-Ban x Meta
Only a short time after Facebook’s rebranding to Meta, the company will appear at ComplexCon with Ray Ban to unveil their next generation of smart glasses called Ray-Ban Stories.
The product lineup, which was revealed in September by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and EssilorLuxottica chief wearables officer Rocco Basilico, is lead by Ray-Ban’s popular Wayfarer and Wayfarer large styles but with 5MP camera to capture photo and video, open ear speakers and three-microphone audio array. The style heads to ComplexCon but is available at Ray-Ban stores and select Luxottica retailers such as SunglassHut, LensCrafters, OPSM, David Clulow, and Salmoiraghi & Viganò.
Saucony x Trinidad James
Saucony is launching a limited-edition collaboration with rapper Trinidad James’ brand Hommewrk.
The collaboration Jazz 81 sneaker combines the footwear brand’s heritage with the ‘All Gold Everything’ rapper’s Trinidadian heritage. The sneaker pulls inspiration from James’ moving to America, as well as his favorite drink, “sorrel,” from which the sneaker colorway “sorrel red” gets its name.
The collaborators will host a booth emulating a one-room schoolhouse where the sneakers will be available, and after the event, Saucony and James will donate sorrel red school fixtures and co-branded school supplies to South Central, Los Angeles school Crete Academy, to which he has donated in the past. The school serves students experiencing homelessness.
“I always say ‘you gotta bet on yourself’ and Saucony approached this project with a kindred conviction that together we could fuse our individual legacies to create a vibrant and very distinct Saucony x Hommewrk Jazz 81,” James said. “Running in the right direction the Jazz 81 is the perfect canvas for my journey, my narrative, allowing me to further share my vision and cultural roots with the world. In partnership with Saucony, we hope to continue to build a more inclusive community while inspiring new generations to express themselves through authenticity, style and culture.”
Tombogo designer Tommy Bogo reproduced his fall 2021 collection presentation, “Lost and Found,” for ComplexCon.
The interactive experience is an unconventional runway made of a treadmill that attendees can walk and create content on to share. The FW21 collection is also available in the space.