Respira for LaQuan Smith X Cash App


During the last months of 2022, a massive billboard was erected on Kent Avenue at the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint in north Brooklyn. One half of the advertisement's real estate is a solid neon green,  bright enough that it likely can be seen by ferry passengers on the East River. A simple message breaks up the luminous block, stating "LaQuan Smith for Cash App" with key letters set in Respira, Sharp Type's homage to the Spanish blackletter.

Cross-industry collaborations are the new normal, which we've discussed before. Perhaps only within this context does it makes sense that Cash App would tap NYC native LaQuan Smith to collaborate on a clothing capsule collection. The effort to align the mobile payment app with luxury fashion does show, and it's arguably a stretch that doesn't quite work. Even if the pairing is something of a surprise, is it interesting? 


The advertisement itself is bold and its simplicity is striking. Cash App's bright green branding translates well here. Respira has been a popular choice for designers, especially for those whose clients seem to desire streetwear-adjacent stylization. While it has the striking graphic qualities of its forebears, Respira is notable for its balance. Its restraint gives it a unique texture and feel, and this means it plays well with a variety of possible font combinations because it does not demand the same attention that many others of its kind do. The flashiness and gothic drama of the blackletter are condensed into minimal strokes while still evoking quality: the studious calligrapher's hand and the materiality of ink to paper.


Fashion designer LaQuan Smith at the celebratory dinner for his capsule collection with Cash App.

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