Friday Fives, Vol. 109

Every Friday we highlight five things we have on our radar that we think should be on yours, too.

Here’s this week’s Friday Fives.

The Walking Dead

As shopping increasingly shifts from physical retail stores to online and direct-to-consumer models, the number of ‘heritage’ brands begins to pile up in the graveyard. From Toys R Us to Sears, once titans of their industry, seemingly unstoppable juggernauts of the fluorescently lit aisles of capitalism, it was Payless ShoeSource’s time as well last February. But it seems we aren’t ready to say bye to these once-iconic brands yet. Payless is being brought back in a shadow of its former self, reopening a few retail locations while maintaining a mostly online presence. It only took them two bankruptcies to realize that the world was changing and that it didn’t need 4300 locations to sell discount shoes. — MC2

Awkwafina Bound A Train

New York’s media image has long been embodied by stereotypes of Italian-American hand-gesturers, but the fact of the matter is there are huge, rich cultures that far more embody contemporary New York City than Little Italy. Comedian and rapper Nora Lum, better known as Awkwafina, is launching her new comedy show, Nora From Queens, which follows a young Asian-American woman living with her father, navigating life after college and unemployment. To promote her new show, Awkwafina will be taking over 22 subway stations as the subway announcer, letting you know “This is 69th Street, which is definitely, definitely not funny in any way” in her trademark raspy voice. It truly makes me wish she could take over all subway announcements, I think my three train commute would get just a little brighter that way. — AD

Gaming is…cool?

Remember when the stereotypical image of a gamer was an overweight person eating chips and drinking Mountain Dew while playing in front of a TV in their mother’s basement? Well, look how far they’ve come. During Gucci’s AW20 show this year, a new band of A-Listers showed up: Famous Gamers. These gamers from Fnatic, a League of Legends team which has made outstanding achievements in the eSports world, took up front row seats at the fashion brand’s annual show, hailing the start of something new. Maybe these unexpected guests suggest a more technology-based 2020 for Gucci. — DD

To Infinity and Beyonce

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you by now should be aware that Beyonce is bringing her athleisure brand Ivy Park into the fold of celebrity/fashion brand collaborations with Adidas. Set to launch January 18th, Beyonce is joining the likes of Kanye, Rihanna, and Kylie Jenner in this new kind of celebrity product endorsement. Consumers are tired of the traditional phony pay-to-wear endorsements and this new style of collaboration holds these celebrities accountable for their products through ownership — if the products fail, they fail.

Naturally, since the queen Bey herself is attached to Ivy Park x Adidas, all of the products look fireeee. The deep purple and orange color combinations are sure to stand out in a crowd. However, at the end of the day, these celebrity/brand collaborations are just another ploy for the rich to get richer and for the consumer to buy more stuff — all wrapped in a pretty little bow. –AG

Gotta collect ’em all

My sister used to collect postage stamps from all over the world; from flower and animal illustrations to special stamps commemorating big events like the new millennium (this was a while ago). Stamps reveal important events and landmarks at different points in history, and a trip through a stamp collection can reveal a lot of historical events and significant findings that we might have forgotten about. This new series of stamps by Royal Mail depict a small snippet of video game history, showcasing a collection of screenshots from the late 80s to the early 00s, tracking both the development of gameplay styles and graphics. It’s cool that stamp designs are still being developed, even as we reach a point where the only mail we ever get are Amazon boxes and Bed Bath & Beyond coupons. –MC

The Working Assembly is an award-winning multidisciplinary design studio with a focus on branding and visual design.

Founded in 2014, we partner with clients and agencies for end-to-end brand building, including strategy and visual identity, print and digital design, content and creative communications.

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