The Fresh Prince is coming for the nostalgia throne.
Will Smith dropped a limited-edition merch collection on his website this week, inspired by his character on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Dubbed “Bel-Air Athletics” (because getting those Fresh Prince licensing rights from Warner Bros. would have been a bitch), the collection features 26 pieces in total, with styles for men, women, and kids. The clothing and accessories line is the latest play for the pockets of Nineties babies, following a 90210 “Peach Pit Popup” in L.A. over the summer, and a number of releases timed to the 25th anniversary of Friends last month.
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In an Instagram video, Smith, whose Fresh Prince debuted 29 years ago, expressed his excitement over the collection, and said he wished he did this when the show first came out. Prices in the “Bel-Air Athletics” collection range from $6 for an air freshener (“new car scent”) to $95 for a paisley-lined track jacket inspired by the school blazer he wore on the show (it’ll cost you an extra $80 for the matching pants). A $200 “Gym Bag Kit,” meantime, gets you the track jacket, a T-shirt, socks, and basketball, all packed inside a navy duffle bag.
While the show — now streaming on Amazon Prime — tracked his character’s journey from working class Philadelphia to the tony Bel-Air, the clothing line is decidedly more L.A. than West Philly, with nods to Will’s private school uniform on the show, and the fictional Bel-Air Academy where the characters went to class. A couple of retro-inspired tees round out the collection, including a “dribble drive” shirt that features a caricature of Smith doing his best Scottie Pippen impersonation, and a tie-dye “throwback tee” that changes color based on your body heat.
The 51-year-old Smith posted a video to Instagram Tuesday, talking up the new drop. He also appears in promo pics throughout the site, doing his best Benjamin Button impression as he poses in select pieces from the line.
The actor first teased the collection during an appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show last month, where he surprised a group of high school students who had gone viral with an anti-bullying video. While Smith talked up his Fresh Prince merch, he actually gifted the students with clothing and footwear from New Balance instead (Smith’s son, Jaden, is a brand ambassador for the athletic brand’s 997 sneaker which could explain the curious bait and switch).
Smith is likely hoping to use the merch line to build up some goodwill in advance of his new film, Gemini Man, which hits theaters next weekend. The futuristic thriller, which was beset by numerous delays, has so far been panned by critics, which one calling it a “high-concept misfire.” The actor is no doubt hoping fans will focus more on the Fresh Prince and less on the rotten tomatoes.
Will Smith’s “Bel-Air Athletics” clothing collection is available now through October 14th on the actor’s official website.
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