Uniqlo-Nintendo T-shirt line leaves women gamers with the short end of the stick

Uniqlo

Nintendo has joined forces with Uniqlo to release a special line of fan-designed T-shirts culled from Nintendo faithful all over the world and handpicked by Shigeru Miyamoto, the genius behind MarioZelda, Donkey Kong and more.

The shirts look absolutely gorgeous, with a wide variety of styles to choose from — if you're a man. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the relatively limited selection of shirts designed with women in mind. The designs, while created by everyone, aren’t for everyone. Not really.  

New Nintendo Uniqlo shirts for everyone?

Source: YouTube

The official video promoting the new Nintendo-Uniqlo collaboration shows a harmonious get-together of people brought closer by wearing these new Nintendo shirts. They look so happy and hip! I want to be one of them! 

But sure enough, if you cross-reference the shirts in the video with the actual official site, each gender is restricted to a smaller selection of designs. It’s disappointing to know that in this one-of-a-kind collection there are pieces some Nintendo fans simply won’t be able to purchase, but when you look at how the options across genders compare it gets even worse.

Uniqlo-Nintendo T-shirts: Breaking it down

This one is only available for men.
This one is only available for men. Uniqlo.

Out of the 25 winning designs, 11 of the designs will only come in men’s sizes. In comparison, there are five designs only available in women’s sizes. Frustratingly, five more designs will only come in kids’ sizes. More confusing still is the fact that there are some designs available for both men and women, but not for kids, or for men and children, but not women.

There’s no rhyme or reason behind this strange distribution, and at first glance the site doesn’t clearly communicate the idea that only some shirts will be available in certain sizes sorted by “men, women and kids.” A press release we received also failed to relay that important bit of information, and when we reached out for clarification this was the response:

That's correct - you can find a complete guide to which styles are available in which sizes at the site linked in the email.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the largest group of consumers targeted are men. The fact that most of the shirts meant for women also feature the characters many incorrectly assume that only women are interested in. For example, only women can purchase the shirts with Princess Peach and Pikmin designs. A closer look also suggests that the women-only designs aren't even cut in any discernibly different way. 

The Princess Peach design from the new Nintendo and Uniqlo collection
The Princess Peach design from the new Nintendo and Uniqlo collection Sebastian Pinaud/Uniqlo

Stranger still, the more complex designs for games like Zelda are relegated to kids’ sizing, while the more juvenile designs are saved for men and women. It’s seemingly at random, with no real regard given for the fact that perhaps kids shouldn’t be the only audience for a gorgeous landscape from Zelda.

'Zelda' t-shirt for children only.
'Zelda' t-shirt for children only. Uniqlo

The entire situation would make more sense if this was a more complicated piece of clothing. But these are T-shirts, one of the most basic garments in the world of fashion. Beyond utilizing special materials for some T-shirt designs, there’s nothing stopping the company from offering the same options across all sizes.

The worst thing about this decision is that it means some of the fans who submitted these designs won't even be able to wear the T-shirts they helped create.

If Nintendo is trying to spread the message that its games and products are truly for everyone, perhaps it’s time to evaluate the ideas that permeate its partnerships and merchandise as well. Unisex sizing isn’t a difficult concept, and it would ensure all fans have a chance at special edition merchandise instead of feeling left out by the very company that wants to ensure gaming is fun for everyone.

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