ComplexCon Chicago - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Last week I got the chance to attend the inaugural ComplexCon that took place at Chicago’s McCormick Place on July 20-21st. 

The music conference/festival/fashion convention usually takes place in Long Beach California but decided to switch things up by bringing the exhibit to Chicago this year (There will still be a ComplexCon happening in Long Beach this November).  

ComplexCon brought lots of excitement for the city, for more reasons than one. First, this would be the first time hypebeasts in Chi City would be able to participate in the large convention that is specifically targeted at them. Secondly, local streetwear brands would be able to showcase their clothing and have it available for purchase during the event.

ComplexCon was full of excitement with panels that included Questlove and Black Thought to Juice Wrld, Killer Mike, and T.I. The attendees were full of excitement to hear people spit game and to enjoy performances from artists like Rick Ross, ScHoolboy Q, Ella Mai, and Saweetie just to name a few.

Juice WRLD joined Sean Evans LIVE at ComplexCon Chicago this past weekend, just hours before shutting down the Pigeons & Planes stage. The Chicago superstar is a platinum-selling artist whose latest album, Death Race For Love, debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts, and he has a new single with Ellie Goulding called "Hate Me" out now. But how is he with spicy food? Find out as the hometown hero takes on the wings of death in front of a live audience. Along the way, he talks about his dirt-bike obsession, the appeal of Percy Jackson novels, and the reason you shouldn't pigeonhole SoundCloud rappers. via Complex

There were lots of things to gaze upon at the exhibit like special appearances from Allen Iverson, exclusive sneaker drops from Puma and Reebok, and even a dunk contest. The most exciting thing for me was the panels and getting to hear artists like Smino drop gems about not taking advice from too many people.

It was also dope to see Chicagoan fashion designers like Joe Freshgoods get representation. Other Chicagoans in the fashion world that were represented included were Sheila Rashid and Kristopher Kites. 

Sadly, this is where some of the criticism comes about ComplexCon. Lots of locals feel like the convention misrepresented the true essence of the city. The biggest mistake, not inviting Leaders 1354 to be there. They had a collaboration with the Hundreds, but the iconic Chicago brand deserved to be highlighted more.

If you know Chicago fashion then you know how much of influence Leaders 1354 has had on the culture. Starting in 2002, the clothing store got its start in Hyde Park. Founder Corey Gilkey says, even though they felt cheated out of the experience, it has pushed clothing brands to want to work together even more. 

I’m also not too sure that I saw any of the brands represented in our article for Chicago brands to watch out for.

While ComplexCon was one of the main events that took place last weekend, it wasn’t the only one, which could have hurt the success of the event. Pitchfork Music Festival and the Silver Room Block party were also on the agenda for many Chicagoans. 

I attended both days of ComplexCon, the only thing I regret missing out on is Silver Room Block Party. Especially after news that Pitchfork got rained out on Saturday. Critics of ComplexCon Chicago have also stated that the floor also seemed a bit empty, compared to the one in Long Beach.  

One thing for sure, ComplexCon racked up bank with this two day event. I just hope local brands were able to make a good profit off of the business it brought. The most memorable moment from ComplexCON was the Hype Beast Stampede. People literally ran out of the room during a Q&A with Allen Iverson to try and cop the Nike Air Fear of God 1 “Yellow” on the SNKRS Stash.

Did you attend? 

Let us know your favorite or least favorite part of ComplexCon in the comments!