Graphic t-shirts for the graphic gamer

Allison Duchin, Staff Reporter

Gamers and non-gamers unite! Pull out your t-shirts featuring Mario, Yoshi and your favorite superheroes. These highly recognizable characters have taken over graphic t-shirt designs in many stores. Now geeks can proudly wear apparel with comic book and video game characters without worrying about fashion’s current do’s and do not’s.

Cheetah prints, British and American flags and slogans have lined retailers’ shelves for the last few years. However, graphic t-shirt designs within the last season have included elements of classic video games and comic books.

This shift in graphic t-shirt design could easily be a possible result of the recent stream of Marvel’s comic book movies that have been released within the last few years. As the popularity of video games and comic book figures grows, their influence on their marketability, specifically through the fashion industry, grows with it. Along with this notion, Case Western Reserve University student and non-gamer, Elen Yeranosyan, also believes that the popularity of this trend in graphic t-shirts could be a result of the influence that Eastern Asian street fashion has had on American markets for the past few years.

It is not uncommon to walk into a CWRU dorm and hear or see people talking about or playing video games. In fact, it is probably more unlikely for one to not have this experience. CWRU students are notorious gamers with collections that include the classics such as “Mario” and “Pokémon,” as well as modern favorites like “Modern Warfare,” “Grand Theft Auto” and “Halo.” Some of these characters can be seen on a classmates’ shirt, but some of the more obscure or modern games have not been as well received by the fashion industry.

“The easiest icons to find on graphic t-shirts are the ones that have the greatest mass appeal,” said Enio Chinca, CWRU student and gamer. “The market is saturated with the most recognizable characters. When you’re looking to find a wider range of character or game related shirts, [you have to go to] gaming conventions or through those games’ websites,”

Even non-gamer Elen Yeranosyan was able to identify all the major graphic novel and gaming characters she was shown as they were featured on t-shirts from various fashion conscious vendors. As a non-gamer, Yeranosyan admitted that even she would easily wear the t-shirts that display images of these characters on them; she finds graphic t-shirts quirky and a way to brighten up her day as well as the days of others.

Graphic t-shirts, no matter what they say or show, are designed to have an element of humor and fun in them. No, you do not have to be a gamer to wear a graphic t-shirt that has images of video games or superheroes, but does it make you want to know more about them? How much does wearing one of these graphic t-shirts influence your interest on the topic? It may be nothing but a cute shirt to some people, but in an environment like Case Western Reserve University it could be a doorway into having a new experience in the gaming world.

If you are a big gamer and like some of the more obscure references to video games or graphic novels, do not let the limited inventory of fashion retailers stop you from showing off your “game swag.” Be unique; all you need is a t-shirt with your favorite reference and a pair of scissors to cut and make your own one-of-a-kind graphic t-shirt that is not only representative of your own individual style and personality, but is trending with modern fashion streetwear.

Although local retailers may not supply as much gaming merchandise as CWRU students might want, all should feel free to enthusiastically sport their favorite graphic t-shirt this upcoming fall season. If, however, one is in need of adding a new graphic t-shirt to their wardrobe this fall, take a look at Forever 21, Love Culture, Macy’s or Hot Topic. Whether you play Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, Nintendo 64 or even none of the above, students should embrace the true CWRU persona; we are not just nerds, but we are also nerds with style.