FaZe Clan is moving to Los Angeles.
The gaming and lifestyle media platform opens a month-long temporary location on Fairfax on May 14 called The Armory, a 1,500-square-foot outpost that will also serve as a pop-up experience and lounge high-end gaming. It’s also the brainchild of FaZe’s new creative director, Jay Richardson.
The Philadelphia native designed a pop-up that pulls designs from a military barracks but with three sections: a bunker-inspired common area, a retail space that mirrors a watch room, and a basketball hoop half court at the back. Richardson described The Armory as a “vortex” that leads the legendary streetwear district — home to Supreme, The Hundreds, Diamond Supply Co. and Huf, among other brands — into the future.
“It’s a complete overall experience,” Richardson said. “We wanted to provide a premium gaming lounge and pop-up experience. It’s more of a show or an exhibition and the clothes are a souvenir. Fairfax is definitely a cultural staple as the home of streetwear, but it’s the future and we’re the vortex that takes it to a new level.
The Armory will house Nintendo Switch, Playstation 5, and Xbox One consoles, as well as high-end PC gaming setups running games that FaZe players participate in. FaZe also schedules space programming for product launches and FaZe member appearances. The organization said it will launch new products every week, ranging from high-profile collaborations, apparel, gaming accessories, and electronics that form the focal point of their latest offering.
FaZe unveils at The Armory its first custom keyboards, controllers, PCs and headsets, all designed by Richardson. The products will then launch on FaZe’s direct-to-consumer channels and they plan to expand distribution to specialty retailers in the fourth quarter.
“Working with Jay, we can pop up and sell products and create space for fans,” said Derek Chestnut, FaZe Clan’s Head of Consumer Products. The duo shared that they plan to expand this concept to other markets. “We want to be respectful of Fairfax’s history,” Chestnut added of the space. “We don’t come as a clothing brand to compete.”
FaZe Clan opened and hosted a temporary store at Stadium Goods in New York City which was shut down by police due to capacity. Chestnut said they expected strong attendance at The Armory based on what they’ve seen at previous pop-up shops and at ComplexCon, but expects the longer lead time and monthly lineup will mitigate this. They will announce the various collaborations before their release dates.
“Historically what we’ve tried to do and been successful at is building an engaging brand around product releases and storytelling,” Chestnut said.
FaZe Clan has racked up a number of collaborations with Kappa and Market, formerly known as Chinatown Market; Manchester United and the NFL which has developed into a joint marketing initiative. They’ve 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 himself has an athletic and creative background. He played basketball from an early age, but also studied film and media and started his own brand. After the death of his friend, he decided to take his creative quest more seriously. FaZe Banks recruited Richardson and made the decision for him to stay in Los Angeles. Richardson started as a creative consultant, later became a designer and eventually this new role.
“I want to flip the brand but keep it authentic for the brand,” Richardson said.
FaZe Clan revealed in October that it is expected to list on Nasdaq through a merger with B. Riley Principal 150 Merger Corp. The organization declined to comment on the status, but said it plans to close in the first half of 2022.