Complex is a young men's style/lifestyle magazine founded by Marc Ecko and Hugh McFall in 2002. The publication offers mainstream readers insight into the latest trends in niche cultures, such as streetwear, sneaker culture, hip hop, and graphic art. Complex has a circulation of approximately 500,000 and targets men that are college-aged to early 30s in urban/metropolitan areas.
One of the magazine's unique attributes is that each issue features a different cover on each side (one male, one female), creating two distinct sections. The half of the magazine that follows the male celebrity cover (e.g., Kanye West, Seth Rogen, Pharrell, Kobe Bryant, James Franco) is geared toward lifestyles, the latest films, music, and other forms of media. The half of the magazine that follows the female celebrity cover (e.g., Jessica Alba, M.I.A., Cassie, Rosario Dawson, Olivia Munn, Gwen Stefani, Mila Kunis) is dubbed "The Guide" and offers a Consumer Reports-esque breakdown of the latest consumer items, technology, sneakers, and apparel.
It is known as "The Original Buyer's Guide for Men" because it was the first magazine in the men's market to emulate the shopping guide formula of Lucky and the Japanese magazines on which that magazine was modeled.
Two years after its launch, big publishing houses like Condé Nast attempted similar titles, like Cargo, Sync, and VITALS, all of which folded within two years of launch.
In 2007, the Complex Media Network was launched, bringing several sites around the web under the Complex umbrella. These include Juxtapoz.com, Nahright.com, NiceKicks.com, Karmaloop.com and many others. The sites of the Complex Media Network generate upwards of 50 million unique visitors per month.
In 2009, Complex Media spun off from Mark Ecko Enterprises to become an independent company.
Complex is noted for having discovered the location of OFWGKTA member Earl Sweatshirt, in reform school in the American Samoa in 2011.