Since its inception three-years ago, Complex Network’s annual ComplexCon has become a leading celebration of our culture and our community. Spearheaded in Long Beach, California, ComplexCon is Complex’s “world fair of youth culture” and is known for bringing thousands of sneaker heads, changemakers, community leaders, artists, fashion gurus, entertainers and celebrities together for two-days of music, art, discussion, entertainment and culture. Now, the annual festival is making its way across the country for the first time ever and introducing the Windy City (and the nation) to ComplexCon Chicago in what appears to be the network’s biggest event yet.
Executive Producer Isis Arias Clermont promises that the inaugural ComplexCon Chicago will be unlike any other. “It’s different than traditional festivals that are more focused on music and art,” Clermont explained. “It’s really bringing the ‘URL to IRL’. The experience includes retail and shopping opportunities with cool brands, music performances (which are the energetic part of the show) and Complex Current which is a format of our panels and fireside chats with talent that speak to different topics that our audience is interested in.”
One of the ways Chicago will differ from Long Beach is through the introduction of the first ever ComplexCon Community Week which is a weeklong series of community driven events meant to provide resources to cities (like Chicago) that birthed Complex Culture. Led by Complex’s Director of Community Outreach, Nicole Russell, ComplexCon Community Week will kick off on Monday, July 15th and conclude on Friday, July 19th, right before ComplexCon officially begins.
“It was really important to use this platform to inspire the people watching us to do more for the community – not just in the spaces where ComplexCon will be hosted but in their own,” Russell said. “We’re really trying to make sure we’re bringing awareness to different organizations but also showing everyone that’s tuning in how they can get involved and stand up for the causes that matter to them.”
ComplexCon Community Week will consist of a variety of events such as a Soup Kitchen Takeover in partnership with TaoCares, a STREETWEAR.EDU panel discussion hosted by Trinidad James and a small Chicago-style block party for A Night Out Against Gun Violence, an event that Russell believes will help shine a light on some of the initiatives that the Chicago based Save Money, Save Life Foundation already supports. “It’s really just about bringing awareness to the people that are here [in Chicago] and showing them how they can show up and support one another,” Russell explained. “I think when you’re looking at the news and you’re seeing all of these things happening, all these challenges in your own community, everyone wants to know how they can help and what can they do. Not everyone has those tools to just fix, or not everyone knows what to do to inspire the change. We wanted to use this platform at Community Week to provide that information.”
As Community Week kicks off and ComplexCon Chicago grows closer, Clermont and Russell appear to be tackling everything with ease. These ladies are leading the charge on one of the biggest events for our culture in a male dominated industry– and are killing it. “I think this has been an incredible opportunity,” Clermont said. “Everything comes with its own challenges and I think for us to be in the positions that we’re in, have the ability to have a voice in the room and really help lead these things has been great.”
In spite of the challenges that come with pulling off any successful event, the ladies both agree that working with such an amazing female-led ComplexCon team has been quite rewarding and inspiring. “It’s really cool to be on such a dynamic team of fearless women,” Russell said. “There’s a lot of pressure, especially in a new role where were creative something for the very first time, but there’s support here. And its support coming from other women, which is great. So, it makes my job easier.”
With three successful ComplexCons already in the books, introducing the annual culture staple to the city of Chicago is right on time, as Clermont believes that Chicago’s culture is exactly what embodies the Complex brand. “We definitely feel that Chicago is a city that’s culturally important to us. They have a strong audience that is interested in the things that we’re putting together such as hip-hop, streetwear and sneaker culture.” Clermont also assured us that Chi-Town is definitely in for a treat this weekend as the ComplexCon Chicago team has a ton of surprises up their sleeves for the first ever event. “We’ve got a lot of surprises on the ground,” Clermont said. “It’s one of those things that you just have to be there for. You never know who you’ll run into on the floor.”
For more on ComplexCon Community Week and ComplexCon Chicago, visit: https://www.complexcon.com/