Complexcon : The End of Streetwear Conventions?
Marc Ecko’s Complex cemented their hierarchy within the industry by hosting its inaugural streetwear convention Complexcon, exhibiting the cultures finest musicians and brands.
The streetwear industry’s days of being a niche subculture are numbered, as the industry has now become a multi-billion dollar commercial enterprise. This may dishearten innovators and early adopters, consumers who pioneered the movement by believing that these brands were a correct representation of their culture. Complex have capitalised on the fact that streetwear is moving towards the masses, by hosting their introductory streetwear convention. The renowned Hip-Hop magazine insured all types of consumers were buying into an immersive experience.
Streetwear Convention’s are not unheard of, with conventions such as Bread and Butter, Agenda and Sole DXB, still operating in Berlin, Vegas and Dubai respectively. Conventions were traditionally utilised as a platform for brands to operate over a space of few days to attract buyers, but over the years the once business orientated platform has now gained a sense of novelty. As brands now enlist the help of celebrities and musicians to entice buyers; most recently ASAP Rocky performed at Bread and Butter in Berlin.
Nonetheless, Marc Ecko saw great potential in this format by catering for the masses instead of buyers — differentiating Complexcon from other conventions by immersing itself within street culture, incorporating fashion, art and music in one location. From Takashi Murakami designing the conventions aesthetic to Vlone releasing an exclusive NikeLab collaboration, the convention was a haven for streetwear consumers. The added factor of performing acts and panel discussions ensured consumer were able to gain a memorable experience.
This could be alarming for traditional tradeshows, as Complexcon has the potential to expand over the coming years — the format could be utilised to attract buyers. With brands also being able to gain insight on which marketing tools and strategies prove popular by communicating with consumers directly.
*Written by Kevin Arulrajah