Why ComplexCon Chicago Is One of the Summer's Most Anticipated Events

By Stephen Ostrowski | July 1, 2019 | Culture

The biggest names in fashion and pop culture descend on Chicago with the Midwest arrival of ComplexCon.

Scott Vener and Pharrell Williams at last year's ComplexCon. (Photo by @JordanLoves.Life/Courtesy of Complex)

From instantly sold-out Yeezy drops to Virgil Abloh-designed Louis Vuitton collections that dominate the blogosphere, Chicago has firmly solidified its place on the style mantel (indeed, Abloh’s Off- White line recently topped Lyst’s Q1 2019 list of the world’s hottest fashion brands). Fitting, then, that the city will be the home to the exposition of all-things-en vogue when ComplexCon, the multiday summit of style, arts and pop culture, hits McCormick Place (and, undoubtedly, your Insta feed) later this month.

“The influence of sneakers, street culture, art, design and hip-hop as a culture is pervasive on a global basis. The bottom line is, we should be bringing that message and shining a light on all the different places that influence it,” says Rich Antoniello, CEO of Complex, of expanding the event into additional cities beyond Long Beach, Calif., its home for the last three years.

Issa Rae, Yara Shahidi, Nadeska Alexis, Karena Evans and Lena Waithe with moderator Jemele Hill at ComplexCon 2018 panel “Women Behind the Lens.” (Photo by @JordanLoves.Life/Courtesy of Complex)

Themed The Future Made Physical, the convention bills itself as the “Cultural Super Bowl,” and that may not be hyperbole: Former speakers include Kith mastermind Ronnie Fieg and business impresario Gary Vaynerchuk; Future and Rae Sremmurd previously played the fest (Schoolboy Q and Ella Mai are among this year's performers); and the couldn’t-be-cooler duo of Pharrell Williams and Takashi Murakami returns as this year’s curatorial chair and art director, respectively. Looking ahead, expect no shortage of Windy City star power, either: this year, guests can shop vendors like RSVP Gallery, Sheila Rashid, Joe Freshgoods, Jugrnaut and other local favorites; featured artists include Rello and Louis De Guzman; and the MCA Chicago will activate at the affair— all hometown representation that will undoubtedly set the hype cycle into overdrive.

“I cannot wait to see the eyes light up. For a lot of these kids, this is their Disneyland, right?” reflects Antoniello on what he loves about the weekend, adding, “Watching our community, and how much we delight them, is something that is really fulfilling.” Two-day general admission tickets $135, July 20- 21, 2301 S. King Drive

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