This past weekend streetwear mecca ComplexCon returned to the gentle shores of Long Beach, California after taking a pause last year due to Covid-19. The two-day event featured hundreds of booths to shop at, an installation highlighting a new chicken project from Sean Evans, and musical performances from a wide variety of guests, from ASAP Rocky to Mac DeMarco and Kero Kero Bonito.
Considering the pandemic is very much not over, the festival wasn’t without its enhanced safety measures which included a mandatory health check that greeted festival-goers before they could enter the convention floor. As someone who walked the grounds in both 2019 and this year, I can tell you that the enhanced safety measures didn’t dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm for all of the limited sneaker and apparel drops the festival is known for. This year’s festival felt even bigger than two years ago as people packed into the convention halls rocking their best fits complete with matching face masks and walked from booth to booth nabbing exclusives and their first tastes of new streetwear brands.
Of the many brands that filled the halls of the Long Beach Convention Center, these are the ten that stood out from the pack and caught our eye. These are the brands that you need on your radar to help level up your style game as we head into 2022. Here are the best streetwear brands from this year’s ComplexCon. Let’s dive in.
The only thing I don’t love about Advisry — who showed up to ComplexCon with a dope laundromat-inspired booth — is the fact that my computer is constantly changing the brand’s name to “Advisory.” That’s not really the brand’s issue, it’s mine. So if you’re willing to look past that, you’ll find a streetwear label that specializes in an eye-catching set of apparel and accessories.
From sunflower-adorned hats to vintage-inspired graphic shirts, Advisry is a brand that has captured the vibe of the perfect thrift store haul. Each piece out of the brand looks like the sort of vintage gem you’d stumble on after hours of searching through thrift store racks, only without having to deal with that grueling search.
Curves By Sean Brown
One of ComplexCon’s designated “Brands To Watch,” Curves by Sean Brown isn’t your typical streetwear brand, because well, they’re not a streetwear brand in the first place. The brand specializes in contemporary homeware from three-piece bedding sets to rugs, throws, shower curtains, and grocery bags.
Having said all that, Curves isn’t exactly your typical homeware brand either. There’s something very young and modern about the brand and they seem to be envisioning your home more than your grandmother’s as they also sell bubble hard drive sleeves, incense holders, and Daft Punk branded CD-rugs. If you’re looking to add some hipness to your living space, Curves is the brand to watch.
Everything We Do Is Limited
Looking for your future favorite five-panel hat? Everything We Do Is Limited is your brand. Each cap that comes from the brand drops in, you guessed it, highly limited quantities that take on average one to two weeks to ship. That means if you want to pick up a drop from the brand you have to move fast and then be patient.
It’s a frustrating rhythm, but I mean look at these hats. The embroidery, the attention to detail, everything is so well planned and thought out that it’ll surely be worth the wait. Few hat brands can blow us away, but Everything We Do Is Limited is truly operating on another level.
Juliet Johnstone is an artist and denim jeans are her canvas. The L.A.-based artist and brand specialize in wild psychedelic designs. Think flowers, butterflies, and the word “love” all rendered with psychedelic movement that almost makes the designs feel like they’re moving as you stare at them.
Not everyone can rock art on their jeans, but if you’re wearing Juliet Johnstone you’re pretty much guaranteed to pull it off and turn heads when you walk into any room. Jeans aren’t the only thing you’ll find from the brand though. Shirts, trucker hats, and more have also served as canvases for Johnstone, and she kills it every time.
Kids of Immigrants
This isn’t the first time we’ve covered Kids of Immigrants and it certainly won’t be the last. What can we say about this brand that we haven’t already said? Kids of Immigrants is one of the few streetwear brands that puts community first. It factors into every decision the brand makes and that’s part of the reason why over five years in, they still feel like they’re breaking new ground.
At this year’s ComplexCon the brand, in its usual general fashion, opted to use its booth to create a marketplace for younger brands from their community that are just getting their start. We love to see a streetwear brand that supports its friends, and that’s an ethos Kids of Immigrants has built on since its inception.
When I said ComplexCon felt bigger this year, that wasn’t just a year spent in quarantine playing tricks on my eyes. I meant it. In addition to your usual streetwear brands, the convention also hosted a handful of beauty brands as well, and none made their presence known more than Kristen Noel Crawley’s KNC Beauty.
The brand didn’t just come baring their usual lip masks, they also linked up with streetwear staple Champion for a capsule collection of basics like sweatshirts, t-shirts, shorts, sweatpants, and leggings. If this collaboration is any indication of things to come, it’s looking like KNC Beauty is expanding itself into more than just a beauty brand, and we’re excited to see what’s in-store.
Being lazy is great, but a brand that actively encourages us to embrace that state of being is even better. Lazy Cake is a loungewear brand that specializes in comfortable clothes that’ll have you living your best life while still looking great.
If you love rocking big sweaters and matching sweats, Lazy Cake is your brand. But with their embrace of loud colors and flattering cuts, you’ll be able to be comfortable without feeling like you’re actually being lazy since you remain adorably presentable. That’s a recipe for success in our book, so pass the cake.
Sweats By Sam
As we mentioned before, we’re big fans of clothes that prioritize comfort and with Sweats By Sam you’re not only going to get a comfortable fit, you’re also investing in a piece of your wardrobe that should last you for years.
The brand describes itself as a handmade slow-fashion brand that specializes in custom clothes designed to last. You can definitely feel that quality in the fabrics and the brand delivers everything from sweat pants to skirts, quart zips, and jackets all bearing customizable name tags that allow you to put a personal stamp on your fit.
The aesthetic captures a look like what you’d imagine out of a Wes Anderson-directed streetwear campaign. We love it.
Vandy The Pink
We’ve been big Vandy fans for a minute now, and we were psyched to see the brand with their very own booth at this year’s event. Vandy started out as one of the best sneaker customizers on the streetwear scene. The custom work out of this label always felt bespoke, contained a strong visual identity, and served as radical departures from the source material. So it’s only fitting to see it all evolve into its own streetwear brand.
At ComplexCon Vandy the Pink went for a full ’50s diner-inspired aesthetic, decorating their booth like your favorite burger joint and dropping a pair of sneakers inspired by the classic cheeseburger. With a playful aesthetic and dope designs, it’s easy to fall in love with Vandy the Pink the second you lay eyes on the brand, and they were definitely feeling the love from the ComplexCon attendees who were already rocking the shoes on the ground floor.
Athletic wear isn’t sexy, it’s practical. Vixx Studios asks the question “what if it was?” Featuring handmade pieces that are sustainably made in the United States, Vixx Studios comes from designer and engineer Victoria Cummings who took a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and used those skills to start a fashion brand.
If that doesn’t smack of vision, we don’t know what does. More scientist fashion designers, please! The fits out of Vixx Studios are the sexiest clothes you’ll ever wear on a tennis court, offering bright pastel colors that will look great both on and off the court.