REVIEW: ComplexCon reimagined in a virtual world

Complex, a media company that covers music, pop culture and fashion trends, went virtual Monday morning as ComplexLand was opened to the public. The online event designed to replicate ComplexCon offers visitors the opportunity to purchase exclusive clothes, art and food from home. 

In the past, ComplexCon had often been held at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center and was focused on being a music festival with performances from Kid Cudi, M.I.A and N.E.R.D through the years, while also including shopping, and pop culture installations.

The event this year, which lasts through Friday, is disguised as a virtual world where users control their avatar and can wander around the landscape as they check out stores’ selections, view 16 monuments “celebrating some of the most important people, moments and ideas”, according to Complex, and watch special panels involving the likes of Barack Obama, Lil Yachty, Mikey Alfred and T-Pain.

Laid out into five neighborhoods, ComplexLand takes place on a map that includes unique areas such as a digital marketplace, a venue for panels and a location full of sculptures and art pieces. 

With exclusive merchandise being an important aspect of ComplexCon, ComplexLand followed suit by creating virtual popups where users can either buy, or in some cases be gifted exclusive items from various brands. 

Perrier x Murakami has attracted a lot of attention with free t-shirts, notebooks, totes and limited-edition bottles designed in collaboration. 

Shoppers can purchase merchandise directly through the virtual experience or in some instances are sent to the brands’ websites. One feature that stands out is the ability to purchase dishes from food trucks that deliver through Grubhub, though the majority are only available in either Los Angeles or New York City. 

Though the concept of a virtual shopping convention seems foreign, it’s well put together. Users’ avatars can be customized, and if the layout of the map is too confusing a directory was created to assist shoppers. 

AI characters are placed throughout the landscape explaining which shops are found in each neighborhood and which events are scheduled each day. 

The event was a refreshing idea in a time where massive gatherings seem so far away, and for Complex it shows a forward thinking approach into what festivals may look like for the near future.

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