With a mix of incredible graphics, stand-out characters and hard-hitting combo moves, Tekken stands as one of the most recognizable fighting games around. The newest addition to the series, Tekken 7 releases in 2017 and its developer and publisher Bandai Namco is giving it a strong push.
One of the most unique promotions is a limited edition sukajan jacket—a souvenir jacket, inspired by the character Heihachi Mishima, who has been the main antagonist of the series since the first game. The reversible satin bomber jacket features two distinct designs: One is a fierce tiger as seen on Heihachi’s gi, and the reverse side has Fujin, the Japanese God of Wind, as seen on an alternate costume. Bomber-style jackets are said to be inspired by Japanese culture and popularized by American GIs.
Designed by Carrie Sleutskaya of Project Runway fame, the numbered premium sukajan jacket features 440,000 stitches in its embroidery and retails for $449 on the Bandai Namco store. The jacket made its debut at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con when Katsuhiro Harada, the famed director on Tekken 7 who has been part of the franchise since the beginning, wore it at the Tekken 7 panel. Pre-orders are available now, and the jackets are expected to ship in December.
Abelina Villegas, e-commerce specialist at Bandai Namco, talks to [a]listdaily about how the fighting game became involved with premium fashion and expanding the Tekken lifestyle brand.
What inspired the creation of Tekken 7 Heihachi Sukajan Jacket?
Our goal for the official Bandai Namco store is to develop exclusive merchandise and promotions for the most passionate fans of our products. Being a Tekken fan myself, I understood that apparel was one of the most important categories for us to explore and that we needed designs that really spoke to this audience. Alongside our Team Mishima jersey and Crying Heihachi hats, we wanted to push the envelope and create something that really stood out.
Tekken 7 branded apparel currently includes a sports jersey and ball cap. What made you decide on a high-end, limited edition, bomber jacket?
Traditional sukajan and sukajan-inspired jackets have been experiencing a resurgence in popularity recently, and we saw a great opportunity to take some of the amazing graphics and iconography from Tekken and create this unique piece of wearable art.
How did you decide on using Heihachi as the inspiration for the jacket?
As the patriarch of the Mishima clan, Heihachi has always been synonymous with the Tekken brand. His gi and the tiger on the back are iconic and is such an amazing visual to work within this medium and his new alternate costume in Tekken 7 provided the inspiration for the more colorful “statement” reverse side with Fujin, the Japanese God of Wind. The level of detail in the embroidery is spectacular. While we explored designs for a number of Tekken characters, after some pretty lively debate internally, we felt Heihachi enabled us to showcase this contrast in a reversible jacket.
Is there any consideration being given to making jackets (or other apparel) based on other characters from the Tekken 7 roster?
Absolutely, we already have some designs!
How did Bandai Namco come to work with Carrie Sleutkaya to design the jacket?
Carrie was introduced to us, and from day one, we knew she was a great fit for the project. She brings expertise from the fashion world but also understands the culture of the audience we’re appealing to. She worked closely with our team, including Harada-san himself to ensure the designs were authentic to Tekken lore, but also pushed the envelope with the design and quality of the final piece. The stitching on the “Tekken” kanji even follows the direction of the correct brush strokes!
How have fans reacted to the bomber jacket?
Tekken fan reaction has been really great, but what’s also been fun to see is the reaction outside of the Tekken community. This is certainly an investment piece and when we’ve showcased the jacket at events like PAX or New York Comic-Con we’ve received great feedback from everyone that sees it.
How would you say the Heihachi Sukajan Jacket increases awareness of Tekken 7 or the Tekken brand in general?
Our goal on the Bandai Namco Official Store is to develop merchandise for our most passionate fans, so the creation of this kind of high fashion piece was also an opportunity for us to expand the messaging around our Tekken 7 campaign to acknowledge that Tekken is a lifestyle brand.