Uniqlo and Nintendo are collaborating to bring some unique swag to stores starting May 19. We reported yesterday that these designs come courtesy of fans, with the retailer and game publisher awarding three of the shirts some sweet prizes for their work.
As people who wear clothes on a fairly regular basis, we consider ourselves qualified to award these new shirts based on our own taste. There’s nothing wrong with the picks Nintendo and Uniqlo went with — everyone turned in impressive work — but when those shirts go on sale later this month, these are the ones we’ll be hoping to pick up.
Some may call this Super Mario-inspired design busy. The print here is composed of an intricate weaving of various Mario game elements, although we have to get up close to really notice that. What we like best here is the tiny, bright-red Mario right over the heart. It’s a subtle pop of color that elevates this $14.90, fast fashion piece into something resembling expensive haute couture.
This Donkey Kong shirt is similarly simple and chic. The body is a solid, Super Mario-esque red. Then there’s that pocket — a genius reminder of one of Donkey Kong’s most common sights. Although we see her only from behind, that’s Pauline under D.K.’s arm, being whisked away to imprisonment on a high-up platform, as per usual.
This Super Mario shirt hews closely to the typical Uniqlo style. The Japanese fashion empire is big into using text as image, whether it’s with random phrases or letters or quotes. This alphabet by way of Mario parts is literally the transformation of the textual into the artistic. We’re digging it.
To the untrained eye, perhaps this is just a basic gray shirt with tiny Pikachu all over it. That would be ... correct, sure. But this is the original incarnation of Pikachu, the Pikachu we fell in love with way back in 1996. It’s been a long time since this chubby Pikachu sprite resembled the Pokémon recognized as the face of the franchise. Perhaps its starring role in Pokémon Yellow made the electric mouse self-conscious about its figure — depressingly and unfortunately — and thus encouraged it to get into better shape. We’ll always have a soft spot for chubby Pikachu, and this shirt will let us carry that love literally on our sleeve.
Maybe wearing licensed apparel isn’t your bag. It takes a certain kind of fashion sense to pull it off, perhaps. Shirts that so obviously communicate the wearer’s interests also aren’t everyone’s style. This Pikmin shirt circumvents any awkwardness inherent in wearing a shirt that screams, “Yo, Pikmin 2 is the greatest of all time,” by minimizing those tiny Pikmin creatures. Instead, the focus here is on the lush world in which they live. The Pikmin are just barely visible amid the watercolor leaves, bushes and branches that shade them. It’s like a wearable painting, which is something Uniqlo’s design collections are also often good for.
Check out all of the shirts in the gallery below, and sound off on your personal faves in the comments.