The 10 Best and Worst Vendor Activations at ComplexCon

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Photos by Asia Morris.

Aside from the activations in a league of their own, like Nike’s basketball court and A Bathing Ape’s almost ceiling-tall walls showcasing Travis Scott’s collaboration Lamborghini, we traipsed through the ComplexCon streetwear jungle and picked out the five best, and five worst setups. It’s amazing what these brands accomplished, with most of them nestled into the smallest of spaces, to catch the attention of the thousands of attendees wandering the ComplexCon convention space. Here’s what we think worked and what didn’t, in no particular order.

BEST

Project Blitz

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Showing off hundreds of rare sneakers, Project Blitz’ installation was like a museum, complete with an exhibit guard tasked to warn you not to touch the precious art. The setup’s towering walls could be seen from across the convention, drawing in attendees not just for the sneakers, but for the sheer size of the thing. Browsing through the shoes-as-art was inspiring, despite wishing you could afford a pair.

Atelier New Regime

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Atelier New Regime’s bright orange booth was simple, well designed and totally eye-catching, especially placed next to C.B.L.’s setup, where it popped out beside the neighboring streetwear brand’s calming complementary blue aesthetic. However, it seemed convention goers were discouraged from entering the small space by the three, seemingly bullet proof vest-clad “guards” standing with their arms crossed at the entrance.

Modernica

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The Modernica booth’s Japanese tea house vibes paired with their exhibited custom-printed fiberglass shell chairs and other mid-century modern-influenced pieces, made for an oasis amongst the chaos of the convention. You could step through the doorway, take a gander at the work, then have a seat and take a break to admire the designs a little more. It was unusually quiet inside—well, quiet for a convention.

Apt 4B

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This very Art in the Streets-esque activation stopped you in your tracks. Whether it was the booth that looked like someone’s vandalized storefront or the dude standing outside with his Frenchie that made you stop and look inside despite the crowd behind you, it didn’t matter. The room within looked a little rundown, complete with what was probably a fake firearm resting on a couch with someone inside handing out tiny baggies containing a tiny photo of a nug.

HEARTSREVOLUTION

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A yes to all things shiny, and the completely blinged-out Swarovski crystal-laden ice cream truck of Hearts Revolution didn’t need a thing except itself to stand out amidst other booths. It was a tactile draw, as well, as passersby were seen touching the truck, running their hands over the bling, maybe in an effort to feed off Hiro’s absurdly positive “energy.”

WORST

G-STAR RAW Elwood x 25

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One of the first vendor installations and brand collaborations you could see as you entered the convention, this one was very hit-or-miss. There was definitely a wow-factor, but a friend mentioned that the floating pants seemed eerie, and reminded her of people hanging, while if you wanted a closer look, you were forced to become a facet of the native plants installation and became prone to being photographed and/or awkwardly stared at by other attendees.

Four Loko

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The throne built of Four Loko cans serving as a photo booth sure seemed sturdy; sturdy enough to support both @thefatjewish and @yesjulz. However, when an unsuspecting couple took a seat, one of the arms came crashing down, with murmurs of, “They should have glued the cans together,” becoming the background noise to the wide-eyed look of shock on the person’s face who had really just wanted a quick picture of himself with his girlfriend.

Adidas

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The few people chilling at the Adidas activation seemed more bored than relaxed. With an astroturf floor, a blue “sky” full of clouds, a big screen promoting their product and far too much space to be used, the installation seemed empty, and well, basic for the second largest sportswear manufacturer in the world. While the merch was expertly displayed in glass cases, the idea behind it was difficult to decipher. Whether the brand had erected a playing field or a park wasn’t completely clear, making it difficult for convention goers to decide how to spend their time there.

UNION

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Union’s setup was awesome. It was like walking into a gallery at the Guggenheim, with their apparel displayed in cases on stark white gallery walls meant to up the artistic value of the product. However, the major design flaw was the lack of light fixtures to highlight the wares inside the cases, meaning they were shadowed and hard to truly appreciate unless you were up close and squinting to see the details. Great concept, but the missing attention to detail was a bummer.

Travis Scott’s Birds in the Trap Sing McNight Pop-Up

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The pop-up selling merch with artwork from Travis Scott’s latest album, Birds in the Trap Sing McNight, was messy, with hoodies and tees visibly strewn on the floor behind the check out and also quite empty, with a lot of underutilized space. Granted, the crowd who came to see the rapper’s ComplexCon performance probably couldn't have cared less about what the booth looked like, but to the discerning eye, a little more attention could have been paid to the space.



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