Retailers Weigh In
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.
Extra Butter unveiled new offerings, such as the Halalabees shoes.
Bait at ComplexCon.