If you need more proof that Gaming Is Cool Now, look no further than the latest collaboration between a gaming company and a luxury brand. TAG Heuer, purveyor of high-end timepieces famously worn by history’s coolest dude, and Nintendo, purveyor of cut-rate plumbers with bad mustaches, have teamed up to produce a Mario-themed smartwatch.
Officially called TAG Heuer x Super Mario—because every high-fashion collab worth its salt needs a tiny little “x” in the middle—the watches feature typical smartwatch programs, like a step-counter, alongside a Mario avatar. As you complete goals toward your daily step total, Mario will perform fancy little animations at specific benchmarks. Hit 25 percent, and he’ll chow down on a mushroom, for instance. At 75, he’ll take a Super Star.
The company will produce 2,000 units, with sales opening on July 15. They’ll sell for $2,150 a piece.
TAG Heuer x Super Mario is just the latest example of the gaming and fashion worlds colliding in a hurricane of capitalism. In recent years, fashion labels have licensed gaming icons to produce eye-poppingly priced collections with the crystal clear goal of scooping up some of that sweet, sweet gamer cash. Given how fast these wares sell, it’s largely proven successful.
Earlier this year, Capcom sold a $1,500 jacket inspired by Resident Evil Village’s beefy antagonist Chris Redfield. A few years ago, Final Fantasy XIII’s Lightning modeled clothing for Louis Vuitton. (LV has also produced a League of Legends collection.) And everyone under the sun knows about Acronym’s techwear team-up with Hideo Kojima for Death Stranding.
“Merch used to just be ‘slap the album cover on a T-shirt,’ and you can tell everybody you’re a Pantera fan,” Daniel Casarella, of music-couture brand Barking Irons, told The Washington Post. (In 2018, Barking Irons designed a line of clothing inspired by Arthur Morgan’s outfits in Red Dead Redemption 2. One jacket sold out within weeks, according to the Post.)
In other words, now that the money’s (clearly) there, don’t expect to go back to the creatively arid days of branded tube socks and ill-fitting hoodies. So, uh, Thom Browne, if you’re reading, maybe it’s finally time to make Nathan Drake’s shearling jacket from Uncharted 2?