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We’ve officially reached peak ’90s nostalgia

Will Smith’s first foray into fashion capitalizes on the show—and era—that made him a household name.

We’ve officially reached peak ’90s nostalgia
[Photo: Harry Langdon/Getty Images]

Few things capture the 1990s quite like the sitcom Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The show’s theme song was the anthem of the decade, and characters like Carlton Banks with his fly dance moves and Jazzy Jeff on the turntables have become iconic in pop culture. It was through the show that the world was introduced to Will Smith, the actor who played the character called Will Smith in the show. Over the last three decades, Smith has had a long, successful career in Hollywood. But this week, he launched a new clothing line that capitalizes on his roots as the Fresh Prince.

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[Screenshot: willsmith.com]
[Photo: willsmith.com]
Nineties fashion is back in style, with brands ranging from Reebok to Champion bringing back looks from that decade. Smith’s clothing line is called Bel-Air Athletics, inspired by the fictional high school Will and Carlton attended in the show, complete with a fake school crest. The limited-edition collection, which is available exclusively on Will Smith’s website, is only available until October 14. The items include things you might find at a high school booster club shop. There are old-school varsity T-shirts for $30 in traditional school colors like crimson and navy, and $60 grey hooded sweatshirts with matching $50 shorts. There are also some designs that scream maximalist ’90s fashion, full of cartoon drawings and clashing fonts. Consider the $40 sky blue tie-die T-shirt featuring a photo of Smith in his twenties. There are also a few items, including a T-shirt and baseball cap, that feature a cartoon drawing of Will as an athlete.

[Photo: willsmith.com]

Other designs include a $90 blue track jacket with a gorgeous paisley print on the inside that peeks through at the lapel. And yes, there’s a matching $30 basketball in a blue and paisley print to go with it.

[Photo: willsmith.com]

It’s clever because it’s a throwback to the show, but this kind of nostalgic school paraphernalia ages well. We all have ratty old sweaters in our closet emblazoned with our high school or college crest. In many of the promotional images of the collection, an older Will Smith wears pieces from the collection, as if he were just supporting his alma mater. And for those of us who spent so much time watching the show it almost feels as though we attended Bel-Air high school ourselves, it makes all the sense in the world to get our hands on some Bel-Air athletic swag.

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About the author

Elizabeth Segran, Ph.D., is a staff writer at Fast Company. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts

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