Women-owned brands destroy boys club – Glossy
Founded in 2016, the streetwear and music event ComplexCon made a comeback this weekend after its pandemic hiatus. This year, the required streetwear brands and the drops throughout the weekend have been accompanied by an influx of women-owned brands, beauty brands, investment-driven platforms and mass-exploiting brands. the streetwear hiding place.
Women in front and in the center
Entering the event in Long Beach, Calif., The first booth greeting attendees was not one of the many men’s streetwear brands one would expect, but rather the shameless pink booth of KNC Beauty. , with the brand’s signature lip masks and a new fashion collaboration with Champion.
The KNC Beauty booth was just one example of an increased female presence this year. Skincare startup Topicals had a booth, as did several fashion and jewelry brands founded by women. As the first woman of color and second woman to serve on the ComplexCon host committee, KNC Beauty founder Kristen Noel Crawley highlighted the role of women for this year’s event.
“Women have always been very interested in streetwear, but there has never really been a voice for us,” Crawley said. “A lot of times you see scraps of sneakers or scraps of clothes, and they don’t have our sizes; it’s not really taken care of for us. [But now] many large companies and brands are finally seeing the value [of catering to women]. I just hope he can open more doors and keep making progress.
For the event, Crawley partnered with Champion for a capsule collection focused on empowering women. The collection is Champion’s most comprehensive to date, with sizes ranging from extra small to 3X. It will be widely available online and at retailers following its launch at ComplexCon.
At Topicals’ Las Vegas-themed “Skin City” booth, users played a spinning game for a chance to win full-size products.
“ComplexCon is usually a male event, but a lot of people don’t know that 50% of attendees are female,” said Olamide Olowe, Founder and CEO of Topicals, who appeared at the brand’s booth over the weekend. “It’s really cool to see beauty marks appearing.”
Crawley also worked with ComplexCon to select a group of BIPOC-owned startups that will benefit from top-notch booth space on the event floor. These include jeweler Au + Ag, lingerie brand Je Blanc, custom tracksuit brand Sweats by Sam and recycling brand Vixx Studios. Other brands founded by women who organized stalls over the weekend include streetwear brands Little Africa and Lazy Cake.
“I would love to see more brands run by women in the next few years,” Crawley said.
The alternative asset class
From cryptocurrencies to NFTs and sneakers, alternative investments were all over ComplexCon this year. Beyond the StockX-style resale model is the startup Rares, an investment platform for users to buy shares of rare sneakers.
“Sneakers have appreciated faster than gold, faster than the S&P 500. And they’re on an upward trajectory,” said Gerome Sapp, founder of Rares, at the brand’s booth. “This trajectory is not just a hype; it’s been like this for 20-30 years, since [before] the secondary market had noticed it.
At the event, the platform officially launched an IPO for the Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototype, which it bought for $ 1.8 million at a private auction in April 2021. It this is the most expensive sneaker ever sold in this format.
Sapp spoke about the value of sneakers as collectibles, calling them Generation Z art.
It’s a generational gap, a chasm. When you talk about a Jordan 3 [sneaker] or a Jordan 5, born from the game. It’s art for them. They see sneakers as art, and that’s how we ask people to look at them through the lens of our work, ”he said.
Big brands continue to join the streetwear wave
Sponsors for the event joined the stands of streetwear and beauty startups, tapping into the cool factor of streetwear. They ranged from luxury fashion via a Prada x Adidas display to stands at Ray-Ban, Crocs, Clark’s and Gillette.
For its part, Ray-Ban hosted for the first time a ComplexCon booth to promote its new connected glasses created with Facebook, which has since changed its name to Meta. Users had the chance to try on the glasses and take pictures with them at the booth, as well as purchase them. Lil Yachty made a at the booth to try on the glasses, and the ComplexCon app alerted users when they went there.
“ComplexCon is at the height of culture. It really hits a target audience, ”said Jenn Buglione, senior manager of Ray-Ban. “One of the main reasons we really stand out in a market like this and in a world of smart glasses is because we’re in fashion.”
Classic brands collaborating with streetwear remained a theme this year: Clark’s handed out free ice cream to promote their collaboration with ‘shoe surgeon’ Dominic Ciambrone, while Crocs’ collaboration with streetwear brand Pleasures has queued up in front of the dedicated stand.
Sponsor Gillette, meanwhile, ran a “Barbershop” booth offering free 15-minute shaves or workouts from famous barbers Vince Garcia and Rich Mendoza. It also featured round tables, a 360-degree rotating social media camera, and samples of its new exfoliating bar razor.