Re­tail­ers Weigh In

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LONG BEACH, Calif. — If you have good prod­uct, con­sumers will come — and they did. There may have been less dart­ing in-and-out of crowds com­pared with last year as fans ran to get to a par­tic­u­lar drop, but de­mand for cool stuff was still very much a part of the DNA at this year's Com­plexCon.

Multi­brand re­tail­ers shared their thoughts on what saw strong sell-through and pro­vided their own notes on the third it­er­a­tion of this melt­ing pot of street fash­ion, art, food and mu­sic. Here, an edited ver­sion of their con­ver­sa­tions with WWD.

Chris and Beth Gibbs, coown­ers, Union Los An­ge­les AS­SORT­MENT: Col­lab­o­ra­tions be­tween Born x Raised and

U.S. Al­ter­ation, Vans, Real Bad Man, Tough Gun and Beth Gibbs' line Be­phie.

HOT SELL­ERS: Union was sold out of nearly ev­ery­thing by Sun­day af­ter­noon, with the re­tailer's Vans col­lab­o­ra­tion a fast mover. Union sold through its stock of the two sil­hou­ettes, al­lo­cated for the en­tire week­end, on the first day alone. The Gibbs tapped into a sup­ply of col­or­ways orig­i­nally slated for a later launch, to have some­thing to of­fer shop­pers on Sun­day.

PRIC­ING: $95 for the Vans col­lab­o­ra­tion.

PRO TIP: “To me, I want to make this about a pre­sen­ta­tion and not so trans­ac­tional. We don't want our booth to just be about stuff. We've had the same space for all three years [of Com­plexCon] and we've done a sim­i­lar ac­ti­va­tion,” Chris Gibbs said. “For ev­ery brand we col­lab­o­rate with, we ask that brand to make an ob­ject of art that's ref­er­en­tial to their brand or the piece they've cre­ated. The thought is to ed­u­cate and steer the con­sumers into be­ing able to open their minds to what this is be­yond the prod­uct.”

TOP COM­PLEXCON MO­MENT: “This is re­ally Be­phie's first big launch and the feed­back for her col­lec­tion has been in­cred­i­ble. I'm see­ing guys and girls wear­ing it. I'll be hon­est, from the Union side of things, I re­ally en­joy this ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause it's rare that we get to di­rectly en­gage with our cus­tomers in a way that's not so trans­ac­tional. It's been good to just kick it with the cus­tomers and hear they love the brand or what they're want­ing from us,” Chris Gibbs said.

“It's been in­ter­est­ing. There have been some re­ally good brands, like [sus­tain­able brand] Pan­gaia, who are fo­cused more on en­vi­ron­men­tal things, and I think it's good be­cause it's bring­ing aware­ness to these kids,” said Beth Gibbs. “In fact, it's al­most a dis­trac­tion from ev­ery­thing else go­ing on in the world. The booths are packed and ev­ery­body seems open. If there's any­thing to take away from Com­plexCon, it's that you don't have to just give peo­ple what they want. It's a mix of giv­ing peo­ple what they want and in­tro­duc­ing them to new things.”

Neil Wright, Com­plexCon event di­rec­tor, Com­plexCon Gift Shop

AS­SORT­MENT: The stock­keep­ing count was var­ied and ranged from pins and Takashi Mu­rakami-print mugs to T-shirts, sweat­shirts and Visvim shoes and on up to a couch and other fur­ni­ture.

HOT SELL­ERS: Any­thing on the ap­parel side with Com­plexCon 2018 and Long Beach printed on it proved big sell­ers. Pieces bear­ing the work of Mu­rakami also proved pop­u­lar among shop­pers. “It's a wear­able sou­venir,” Wright said. “It's some­thing cool and iconic.”

Wright also pointed to the $5,000 Moder­nica couch that, while not the hottest-sell­ing item, was just some­thing spe­cial.

“It's not un­com­mon for there to be a Moder­nica col­lab­o­ra­tive chair,” Wright said. “We brought this couch and it ex­e­cuted amaz­ingly.”

The made-to-or­der item didn't sell out in the hun­dreds, but Wright said they “did fairly well with that.”

PRIC­ING: Pins for $15; mugs, $25; Mu­rakami skull and flower-print duf­fel, $100; skate deck sets for $500; T-shirts, $50; hood­ies, $100; hats, $30; Mu­rakami flower pil­lows, $300 to $4,000, and Mu­rakami prints for $500.

PRO TIP: “Last year we re­leased a cou­ple of items on [app] Frenzy....The dif­fer­ence this year, and this was our way to com­bat line wait­ing, what we did was we made sure our en­tire gift shop was avail­able through Frenzy. You could shop any­where on the show floor through the app.”

Brie Ol­son, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and chief mer­chan­dis­ing of­fi­cer, PacSun AS­SORT­MENT: Vans Space Voy­ager col­lec­tion in a trib­ute to NASA, men's wear from Heron Pre­ston's Bas­ket­ball Skate­boards, Tracey Mills' Not of This Earth and a Fear of God Es­sen­tials x Con­verse shoe. HOT SELL­ERS: “We've been for­tu­nate to cu­rate not only Jerry Lorenzo's Es­sen­tials and Con­verse col­lab­o­ra­tion, but we also have Not of This Earth, which is the first col­lab­o­ra­tion we've done with [Mills]. And then we also have Bas­ket­ball Skate­boards, so we have those three ex­clu­sive re­leases and then we have the Vans col­lab­o­ra­tion,” Ol­son said. “So, in gen­eral, we've driven a ton of en­ergy and hype, and the cus­tomers are re­ally ex­cited equally across the board.” PRIC­ING: Con­verse, $110; Fear of God Es­sen­tials, $40 to $90; Bas­ket­ball Skate­boards, $20 to $80; Not of This Earth, $38 to $80.

PRO TIP:

Ex­tra But­ter un­veiled new of­fer­ings, such as the Halal­abees shoes.

Bait at Com­plexCon.

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