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A Recap of ComplexCon Hong Kong

March 28, 2024
Andrew Lipp
CEO & Co-Founder, EQL

Big black shoes, super baggy pants, and K-pop and Hong Kong stars. That’s what we were treated to over the weekend, as our team hit ComplexCon Hong Kong.  From the moment we stepped foot into the convention center, we were immersed in a world where fashion and culture collided.  It was smashed together in a way that is hard to describe.  One thing is for sure: ComplexCon got local, and it’s certainly clear that local style is leading the way on the global stage. 

The sheer diversity and creativity in people's expressions struck us right away.  Every corner we turned, we saw someone who pushed the boundaries of style.  We couldn't help but marvel at the epic ensembles that graced the event – truly, ComplexCon had us alternating between "What the F” and "That's cool" in rapid succession.

Verdy and Thug Club having fun

Scott - Sneakers & Streetwear Lead @ EQL:

As someone that is more inclined to check your feet before making eye contact, I was looking down a lot over the weekend. These moments are a sneakerhead’s smorgasbord and an opportunity to flex your grail, so of course there were some iconic styles like the Nike Tom Sachs Mars Yard and CPFM VaporMax making appearances, but safe to say the Swoosh was down on shoe count for an event like this. 
Adi Samba’s made a few guest appearances, along with Edison Chen's take on the Superstar, but it wasn’t either of these two big brands that dominated. ASICS was the leading light for the mesh boys brigade and it was an equal representation of GR’s and Collab’s. The rise of the GR for the kool kats was something we heard around the floor, and consistent with other parts of the sneaker world. 
The standout for me was the number of Dr Marten’s, Balmain, and Balenciaga kind of brands and styles that were so prominent. It’s clear this trend of dressier and super chunky footwear is firmly part of Asian style right now. 
Gallery STAN's Booth

Eric - Art & Collectibles Lead @ EQL:

This year’s ComplexCon was a great opportunity to witness the rise of art and collectibles and see the creative things being done in the industry. As art & collectibles become more popular in the culture, we’ve seen the big names expand from their core businesses.  Streetwear heavyweight BAPE was present, not showing off hoodies and sneakers, but showcasing its popular BAPE Gallery exhibit with art inspired by its brand and ape camouflage theme.
The event was also a testament to the rise of Korea as a cultural force around the world.  One of the most popular exhibits was Gallery STAN’s booth highlighting a stable of young Korean artists like Sambypen and Ccreatt.  Sambypen’s art references cartoons, movie scenes, and classic paintings, while Ccreatt focuses on popular musicians - all themes that resonated with the young and global crowd in attendance.
Attendees were attracted to art that was fun, colorful, and referenced popular culture.  While you might not expect the ComplexCon crowd to be purchasing fine art, they were copping collectibles.  Both artists and apparel brands were selling more collectibles products - likely to appeal to a wider audience with a new product category.  

But ComplexCon was more than just a fashion, art, and collectibles showcase – it was an opportunity to connect with industry luminaries and creatives shaping the landscape.  We had the privilege of meeting icons like Jeff Staple, the OG, and Yoon from Ambush, a longtime Nike collaborator. We heard Feng Chen Wang, the esteemed Chinese fashion designer, share thoughts on powerful collaborations and how they are driven by authenticity and storytelling.

We also got to hang out with artists making waves like Micah Johnson (aka Aku) whose work is centered around the aspirations and dreams of young Black Americans.  We helped Aku launch an 8 inch collectible statue at the event to great demand! (All on EQL) 

We checked out product and apparel brands certainly standing out like A.Society, whose unique eyewear brand is hitting all the right notes, and Aly, an apparel brand all about good vibes - the vibes were sky high at their stand. It was clear that individuality is still king. 

Verdy's "Visty" on display

One name that reverberated throughout was Verdy. His incredible design prowess and creative direction was evident everywhere, from the McDonald's collaboration launched at ComplexCon to his influence on the overall vibe of the event being the Artistic Director. His fusion of Japanese meets Western streetwear was seen throughout, especially at his activations for his brands Girls Don’t Cry and Wasted Youth where pure design magic was on display.

ComplexCon Hong Kong reaffirmed what we've long suspected – Asia, and Hong Kong in particular, is at the forefront of fashion and creative innovation.

Here are the three hottest takeaways from the event:

  • Authentic brands that truly resonate in local markets win - they just hit different. Take a look at what Crocs did for their collab with Clot, or how Fragment and Ambush are reigning supreme.

  • The big 2 sneaker brands aren’t dominating on feet like they used to. It's hard to say what'll bring them back in this region. Maybe a Verdy collab?

  • Live activations are in, but they have to be done right. People still want to get their hands on those limited-release products, but let's face it, the lines sucked at ComplexCon. It’s disruptive. Whether it's queuing up for the latest Complex x Verdy capsule or getting a pair of Fragment X AF1s, the activations felt to be in tension with their brand story. There's gotta be a better way to do this ;)  

The event exuded local vibes, and showcased local stars. It showed a rebellious spirit against Americanized trends.  All of that made for a super insightful and truly local event. 


CEO - Founder
Andrew Lipp
CEO & Co-Founder, EQL

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