Since its introduction in 2016, ComplexCon has elevated in value each year. From the exclusive merch to performances to the diverse lineup of panels, all the way down to the art – ComplexCon hosts abundance of content to see and behold. It’s literally like the digital media platform had come to life.
It was only right that the two-day convention next stop would be held Chicago.
Fans of all things pop culture lined up early Saturday morning in hopes of securing some of the most sought out items ComplexCon had to offer. Weeks leading up, Complex’s social media pages released teases from brands of what shoppers could expect. Brands such as AAPE, Chicago Cubs collaboration with Takashi Murakami, and Girls Don’t Cry were among the brands items to sell out swiftly – This would have to be due to holders of VIP & Early Admission wristbands.
As with previous years, those who purchased VIP or Early Admission wristbands were granted access to the convention floor two hours before general admission. This also meant those with GA wristbands hoping to score select items from high-profile brands were sometimes out of luck for the day. When asked about the possibility of restocks, it was noted by a ComplexCon giftshop employee that select items would restock the next day.
When seeking out the Zen x ComplexCon giftshop – you would be surprised its not actually a physical giftshop at all. Instead shoppers were met with a circular structure with employees in the middle who would take orders for the items you want to purchase. When in line you’re handed a large sheet of paper that lists the available items and prices. As expected, lines were extremely long for people who had single day or GA passes, the VIP line moved a bit faster but not by much. I was in the VIP line for about 10-15 minutes. Once finally reaching the front, the cashier then shows you an updated sheet that now displays the currently sold-out items. Sadly, this meant no AAPE x ComplexCon collaboration hoodie for me. Luckily, I was able to secure a Takashi Murakami ComplexCon Discord tee.
To my surprise after purchasing the shirt, I didn’t actually receive the shirt in my hand. I was instructed to take my recently acquired receipt to the pickup area. Where’s the pickup station you may ask. It’s located at the first entrance gate when you enter McCormick Place. What this means is that you will have to leave the convention floor, walk across the indoor bridge, go back through security check, and wait in another line to pick up your purchases. This is my only gripe with ComplexCon, as this was just a hassle that could have been made easier. There has to be a better way if there is another ComplexCon Chicago in the works. Other than that, it was very well ran.
This convention is pop culture heaven, at any given time there was something happening. The show floor was very well spaced and organized, enough room to walk without bumping into people. Booths were also very well placed, with small but visible minimalistic signs indicting the name of the booth.
Throughout the day attendees were treated by performances from some of the most talked about artists in music today like Ella Mai, Rick Ross, Saweetie, Juice Wrld, ScHoolboy Q and more. Complex also hosted a slew of panels featuring a top tier lineup of influential & creative minds in their respective industries. There was also a focal point on cuisine – some Chicago staples like Harold’s Chicken and Portillios led the charge. Celebrities even got in on the action, browsing the convention floor, enjoying the festivities at leisure.
Walking through the convention, any person with sneaker knowledge could spot a mile away some holy grails and the latest hottest sneakers to be released this year. Chicago didn’t pull any punches when it came to rocking their footwear – Yeezys, Versace Chain Reactions, Air Jordan, Off-White, and more were on full display.
Speaking of sneakers, quite a lot occurred over the weekend involving shoes. Fear of God founder and Loyola University Chicago alumni, Jerry Lorenzo, would launch a surprise drop of his signature “Air Fear of God 1” Sunday afternoon. Also advertised with conflicting reports were the raffling of the highly coveted Virgil Abloh and Nike ‘MCA’ Nike Air Force 1 Low – I had to get to the scoop on this.
It was revealed to me by Allie, brand ambassador for the MCA & Takashi Murakami booth, that patrons could enter the raffle by scanning their wristbands, once officially entered the winners would be emailed each night after the convention. The winners would then have the option choosing 1 of 4 pairs of the Air Forces or choose 1 of 2 special designed bikes from highly respected artists Takashi Murakami.
In all, ComplexCon Chicago was one of the most relaxed and chillest conventions I’ve ever attended and that’s a great thing.
Check out Journalist Without A Beat’s ComplexCon Interviews here
Journalist Without A Beat would like to send a big thank you to Complex for the amazing opportunity to provide coverage and the hospitality.
Check out photos from ComplexCon Chicago 2019 below
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