Controversy Erupts Over 'Pokemon Sword & Shield' T-Shirt Design

The winner of a t-shirt design contest for Pokemon Sword & Shield has been disqualified due to a rules violation. Earlier this week, Uniqlo announced the winners of a Pokemon t-shirt design contest, with the winning entrant receiving $10,000 and their t-shirt being sold both in the real world and as a wearable item in the Pokemon Sword & Shield games. The winner, Chinese artist Li Wen Pei, produced a t-shirt design featuring blocky versions of Magikarp and Gyarados."

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However, shortly after the announcement broke, Chinese fans pointed out that Li Wen Pei's designs were identical to shirts being sold on Chinese websites. The artist explained on social media that he had previously sold some smartphone covers with the same artwork, which were then ripped by pirates and printed on other goods. While Li Wen Pei wasn't actively selling his winning design, it still violated a rule that required contest entries not to have been published before. As a result, Li Wen Pei's art was disqualified (along with another finalist that was also found to have violated the rules) and Uniqlo announced that no one would win the grand prize. That means no Uniqlo t-shirt will appear in Pokemon Sword & Shield. The fact that this wasn't caught until after the winners were announced was pretty embarrassing, especially since there was a lot of hype and promotion about the t-shirt design appearing in the upcoming Pokemon games.

However, Pokemon fans will still have the opportunity to purchase t-shirts featuring the designs of several other finalists, many of which feature Pikachu, Gengar, and other popular Pokemon. The t-shirts will go on sale in June, with adult sized t-shirts selling for $14.99 and youth t-shirts selling for $9.99. All of the t-shirt designs can be seen here, along with Uniqlo's announcement about the grand prize disqualification.