Designer Con 2012: Pasadena’s Dirty Little Secret Busts Loose

Navigating from the west side of Los Angeles to Pasadena in 17 minutes flat was the first sign of a great day in the making. OK, so it was painfully early on a Saturday morning, but its still such a rare occurrence that it was hard not to feel as though good things would follow. I wasn’t disappointed.

My early rise and cross-town trek was all in the name of participating in the 2012 Designer Con. And by 9am I was floating neck-deep through a brightly colored sea of vinyl, plush, and paint. The designer toy world’s best and brightest were assembled and ready to play.

Designer Con, hatched as the Vinyl Toy Network in 2006, is a show arguably still in its infancy. Compared with other similar exhibitions in the area (SDCC, or even Kamikaze) the numbers in attendance are small. This is a great advantage if you enjoy the opportunity to speak easily with the exhibiting artists and business types. And if you appreciate lining up for limited edition exclusives in queues that last 3 minutes instead of 3 hours, then DCon certainly offers a mutant leg up.

Will it stay that way long? Probably not. The show like the industry itself is growing and so with it will the fan base. A few years from now when I’ve missed my opportunity to get into DCon’s first sold out show, I’ll look back wistfully on a stellar day in 2012 when things were weird and still fairly low-key.

And here’s what that weird and stellar day looked like.