This 'Esports Dress' for Female Gamers Did Not Go Over Well
Esports is the latest craze to sweep the nation, and with that comes merchandise. Even Fanatics signed a deal to supply the apparel for the Overwatch esports league. But it looks like one esports apparel company missed the mark with its latest item. Over the weekend, Cranium Apparel unveiled its new esports dress for female gamers, and it did not go well.
Women took to Twitter to ask whether any women were involved in the design process. They went on to compare the look to a cheerleading uniform.
Were any females involved in the design/decision making of this?
— Shadowfax 💎 (@Shadowfax) March 4, 2019
Twitter user @Shadowfox explained it best in her lengthy discussion of the dresses.
I came across the ad a little while after it had been posted, and it had already received a lot of criticism from female gamers for being a product they didn't want and had never asked for. Most of them were saying they'd been begging for ages for fitted jerseys, crop tops, leggings and bomber jackets, and a lot of them didn't like the shape, fit or material of the 'esports dress.'
Cranium Apparel responded by saying that women were involved in the preliminary research, but none were involved in the design and decision-making process—a statement that didn't seem to surprise anybody.
Other commentators criticized the company for using polyester:
not sure which female gamers you were asking lads, but you need a bigger sample size. Come and ask us, we won't bite. Please for the love of god don't use polyester regardless of 'quality', it's sweaty and horrid and unflattering unless you're a model.
— Hannah Rutherford (@lomadia) March 4, 2019
After the backlash, Cranium Apparel asked female gamers to tell them what apparel items they're looking for, so hopefully the next apparel drop will be more successful.
For promotional apparel distributors, the lesson is, as always, know the target audience. And if you're designing for women, women should absolutely be involved in the brainstorming, design and execution process.