It’s hard to remember the time when regular people had to put on pants and shoes and actually leave the house in search of cinematic entertainment. It was dark days, for sure. But, before Netflix brought us the miracle of on-demand video, Blockbuster was the only game in town. The video rental giant is a distant memory for most millennials. Now, five years after the chain essentially closed for good, one streetwear designer has resurrected the blue-and-yellow icon for just one week.
For a limited time only, a Blockbuster-themed shop has literally popped up in New York City. This latest incarnation of the ’90s video store chain boasts the same bold blue-and-caution-yellow color scheme. Inside, the layout and aesthetic mirror most of the original retail stores. The Blockbuster ticket logo signage, aisles of movie candy, and rows of VHS tapes are instantly recognizable to any millennial.
This temporary store trades a traditional movie rental inventory for in-your-face streetwear. It’s the brainchild of Dumbgood, a bleeding-edge fashion design house that claims to live at “the intersection of streetwear and pop culture.” At a time when turn-of-the-millennium fashion and nostalgic pop culture are constantly colliding, the temporary Blockbuster reboot makes perfect sense. Dumbgood’s pop-up shop boasts old-school cult movie posters and VHS tapes, but Blockbuster-inspired merch is the focal point here. Visitors can shop everything from $12 branded keychains to iPhone cases to $400 VHS chain necklaces. There are even “Be Kind Rewind!” T-shirts and striped polos that recall Blockbuster’s original employee uniforms.
It’s been almost five years since Blockbuster finally shuttered its retail stores — all but one actually. Millennials and lovers of movie nostalgia can still visit the company’s last official franchised store in Bend, Oregon. In an era of immediate entertainment gratification, this is the final holdout of the VCR era. Surprisingly, it’s open every day of the week with an extensive collection of DVD and VHS rentals (yes, really), plus movie snacks and even its own beer, aptly named The Last Blockbuster.
The Blockbuster pop-up shop is open at 13 Crosby Street in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. Unlike the original video chain, however, the shop will be short-lived as it’s slated to last only through December 15.
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