This past weekend, Cranium Apparel, a company that designs esports clothing, announced that it had released its own “high quality polyester, skin friendly” esports dress. The company claims it’s the first esports dress for women.
The dress, which retails for $53, can be personalised with the player’s gamertag on the back across the shoulders. With a white collar, blue main body, and orange panelling down the sides and around the shoulders, I personally would have expected more uproar about the design of the dress than the actual announcement tweet.
The exact content of the tweet is outlined below:
“GET READY FEMALE GAMING COMMUNITY!
ESPORTS DRESS NOW AVAILABLE
Its [sp] high time that we do something for the female gamers who receive so much backlash in the community!
Stay Strong…We Respect You
Proudly supporting #WOMENINESPORTS
Tag Every Female Gamer You Know”
Apart from the lack of punctuation, which is by no means a criminal offense in the Twitterverse, it is, on the face of it, hard to understand why such a seemingly innocuous tweet, especially one that is clearly trying to empower female players, has drawn criticism.
Any design input from women?
One Twitter user and Twitch streamer msShadowfax posed the question of whether any women were involved in the design of the dress.
Cranium Apparel tweeted their response which stated:
“Unfortunately, No, But we are now turning to the community for ideas! This will help us make more Informed Decisions in the future.”
It seems to be this issue that has drawn the most ire from those within the esports community. On the face of it, the backlash all seems rather harsh. I agree that the style in which Cranium chose to announce its new esports dress was perhaps a little crass. For example, proclaiming that your 100 percent polyester dress is “skin friendly” is a somewhat ludicrous statement. Also, the ceaselessly upbeat and supportive tone of the tweets perhaps didn’t sit well within the slightly cynical esports community.
Response from those in the know
As reported on esports-news.co.uk, Gamers Apparel founder and owner Jamie Harris stated that despite Cranium Apparel claiming the dress was the first of its kind, it was not. He also noted the company’s generally decent reasoning behind the announcement. Harris commented.
“I think they had good intentions; however, they didn’t think it through properly and probably rushd to get it out to the public.
“It’s not a new product in the industry, there are companies like Meta Threads in the US already producing these and have been for a while. I think any effort to bring comfort to females in esports is a good thing, and we should all be doing it. It is unfortunate as to the wording on this particular advert and they should have had it proofread by others.”
His sentiments were then echoed by the CEO of Riot Gaming KimmieRiot, who tweeted:
“The dress thing wasn’t the worst idea; it was the delivery of the post that made it seem like a pity thing. They admitted they did zero market research which should be important to something like this. Don’t feel they had any bad intentions at all though.”
Of course, there are some female esports players who will be indignant that the thought of wearing a dress will somehow empower them in esports. And are they wrong?
Image credit: Future Publishing / Contributor / Getty Images