FaZe Clan is setting up shop in Los Angeles.
The gaming and lifestyle media platform is opening on May 14 a monthlong temporary location on Fairfax called The Armory, a 1,500-square-foot outpost that will double as a pop up experience and high-end gaming lounge. It is also the brainchild of FaZe’s new creative director, Jay Richardson.
The Philadelphia native conceived a pop-up that pulls designs from a military barracks but with three sections: a common area inspired by a bunker, a retail space that mirrors a surveillance room and a half-court basketball hoop in the back. Richardson described The Armory as a “vortex” that leads the storied streetwear neighborhood — home to Supreme, The Hundreds, Diamond Supply Co. and Huf, among other brands — into the future.
“It’s a full overarching experience,” Richardson said. “We wanted to provide a high-end gaming lounge and pop-up experience. It’s more of a show or exhibition and the clothes are a souvenir. Fairfax is definitely a staple in the culture as a home for streetwear, but it’s the future and we’re the vortex taking it to a new level.”
The Armory will house Nintendo Switch, Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, as well as high-end PC gaming set ups running games that FaZe players compete in. FaZe is also scheduling programming for the space for product launches and appearances by FaZe members. The organization said they will release new products weekly ranging from high-profile collaborations, apparel, and gaming accessories and electronics that serve as the focal point of their latest offering.
FaZe is unveiling at The Armory their first branded keyboards, controllers, custom PCs and headsets, all designed by Richardson. The products will later launch on FaZe’s direct-to-consumer channels and they plan to expand distribution to specialty retail in the fourth quarter.
“Working with Jay, we can do a pop up and sell product and make a space for fans to go,” said Derek Chestnut, FaZe Clan head of consumer products, who Richardson credits as a mentor throughout his work at FaZe. The duo shared that they plan to take this concept to other markets. “We want to be respectful about the history of Fairfax,” Chestnut added about the space. “We’re not coming in as an apparel brand to compete.”
FaZe Clan famously opened and hosted a temporary shop at Stadium Goods in New York City that was shut down by the police because of capacity. Chestnut said they are expecting a large turnout for The Armory based off of what they’ve seen at previous pop-up shops and ComplexCon but expects the longer time frame and monthly programming will mitigate that. They will announce the different collaborations ahead of their drop dates.
“Historically, what we’ve attempted to do and been successful at is create an engaging brand around product and storytelling releases,” Chestnut said.
FaZe Clan racked up a number of collaborations with the likes of Kappa and Market, formerly known as Chinatown Market; Manchester United, and the NFL that has expanded into a joint marketing initiative. They also expanded their talent roster with sports and music stars like Brooklyn Nets player Ben Simmons, Bronny James, and rappers Offset and Snoop Dogg.
Richardson has a sports and creative background himself. He played basketball at an early age, but also studied film and media and started his own brand. After his friend was killed, he decided to take his creative pursuit more seriously. FaZe Banks recruited Richardson and made the decision for him to stay in Los Angeles. Richardson began as a creative consultant, later became a designer and ultimately this new role.
“I want to flip the brand upside down but keep it authentic to the brand,” Richardson said.
FaZe Clan in October revealed it is expected to list on the Nasdaq through a merger with B. Riley Principal 150 Merger Corp. The organization declined to comment on the status but said they expect to close in the first half of 2022.