ComplexCon Chicago

Those who know me, know that I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I’m a relative newbie when it comes to streetwear, sneakers and youth culture overall. Growing up in Australia in the 80s, and not being athletic enough to participate in either skateboarding or surfing meant that I had no connection to the cultural movements that these activities perpetrated. Later on, when I moved to Chicago to attend college in the 90s and hip hop was on the rise, I totally missed the memo. You could say I managed to totally sidestep every sub-culture out there, living in relative blissful ignorance…until I got involved with PATTERN. I’m a bit more aware now and have a much deeper appreciation for the “what, why and how” of youth movements that have given us modern day street culture. The history of streetwear is fascinating with many twists and turns, but the most important thing I’ve grasped is that at the end of the day, it’s all about community. Which is why I found myself at Complexcon, meeting with up and coming designers like Kristopher Kites and OGs like Bobby Hundreds (S/O to Bobby on his new book, This is Not A T-shirt – great read!) as well as getting ideas for PATTERN’s upcoming SUPPLY (formerly known as StreetExpo), which we’re planning for October 5. PATTERN from it’s very beginning was all about community, although admittedly I did not realize that right off the bat. I get it now. Which is why SUPPLY as an event is so important to me, and why I hope to see it thrive and grow. But more about ComplexCon!

ComplexCon is a melting pot of brands, culture, music, art, food and activism…the organizers didn’t miss a thing in putting it together, and the diverse masses of young and beautiful converged on McCormick Place in stylish droves. A dull reverberation of music, well, mostly base, filled the huge space, drowning out the drone of voices of a few thousand people, as vendors and starry eyed customers mingled, and eyeballed each other’s hauls and footwear, which was mostly sneakers. And then there were lines. So many, long, long lines snaking their way around the different booths, people patiently waiting their turn to score product or get a few seconds, one-on-one to shake hands with their favorite designer, or musical artist. There were plenty of celebrities in the building to try and catch: Takashi Murakami, Jerry Lorenzo, ASAP Ferg, Bobby Hundreds, Lena Waithe, Wale, Don C, Taylor Bennett (Chance the Rapper’s brother, who I’m sure got mistaken for his more famous sibling all day long) and quite a few others.

Food vendors were all set up outside on a massive patio overlooking Lake Michigan and every time you’d walk by the doors leading outside, you’d get blasted with a combination of hot air and the most mouthwatering smells of food being grilled and deep friend. And did I mention it was hot? Like 95 degrees hot. Even with the breeze coming off the lake it was sweltering.

It was a happy, colorful melee, and one I would have enjoyed more if I didn’t have to haul around a huge backpack and a tote with magazines. (All self-inflicted, but nonetheless painful…walking with a limp today!) Overall, though, it was a great time, and amazing people watching! Below are some pics I stole while walking around. #eventgoals

(S/O out to Justin and CP for getting me there and back! I’ve got all kinds of new music to add to my playlist now!)


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