MADE by Anthony Harris
Iridescent hues and energetic vibes flowed throughout the McCormick Place Convention Center during ComplexCon’s Day 1 inaugural presence in Chicago. Culture, entertainment and fashion intersected to produce a buffet of creative expression; a dizzying and delightful collection of artistic eye candy for both casual spectators and hardcore artisans alike.
A diverse array of small business vendors formed the event’s core offering. From Bodega Rose’s larger-than-life Nike Air Force One shoe installation constructed of styrofoam and flowers to Luv.Moi’s onsite custom painted athletic sneakers, event-goers were treated with the opportunity to purchase exclusive boutique merchandise from dozens of merchants. Hometown favorite Vic Mensa mingled with fans and onlookers to promote his clothing line, 93 Punx.
Large crowds frequented interactive installations presented by major brands such as Puma, Reebok and Hennessy. Whether shooting hoops for prizes at Reebok’s DJ-narrated basketball set or snagging a selfie with NBA legend Clyde Frazier at Puma, global brands flexed their influence to promote their offerings through fun outlets.
Complementing the visual displays, a broad range of musical artists set an edgy tone by entertaining swelling crowds at the venue’s main stage. DJ Cut Cuz, Big Once, Smoke Ono, King Mari, Young Guru, Lucki, Tobi Lou, Juice Wrld and Ella Mai rounded out Day 1’s musical performances as fans hoisted their camera phones to capture their favorite artists doing their thing.
Discussion panels provided an outlet for attendees looking to engage in deeper dialogues about brand influence. Celebrities Allen Iverson and Wale headlined the Superstars in Superstars: The History of Sneakers in Hip Hop panel. PJ Tucker of the Houston Rockets joined Jon Wexler, Adidas Vice President of Global Entertainment and Influencer Marketing to volley their thoughts about how brand influence is changing in athletic wear during the Who’s More Influential for Sneaker Brands panel. Both concluded that a new age of athletic wear marketing has emerged when entertainers such as Kanye West now sell more athletic shoes than established athletes.
But while the day’s planned events provided plenty for attendees to gorge upon, for many, perhaps the pinnacle of the day was unplanned. Fans frantically and excitedly rushed throughout the venue’s corridors as word quickly spread that Japanese design icon Takashi Murikami had entered in the building. Fans swarmed Murikami in paparazzi-like manner to catch a glimpse of the founding father of the Superflat postmodern art movement.
ComplexCon Chicago Day 1 set a high bar that Day 2 is sure to meet; more coming soon!
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