The grand-prize winning Pokémon design of UTGP 2019 has now been pulled from UNIQLO’s website. Originally set to feature as an item in Pokémon Sword / Shield and as a purchasable real-world t-shirt, the user-submitted design has now been officially disqualified.
According to UNIQLO, the winning design (which featured a Gyarados above three Magikarp) has been disqualified due to violating the competition’s terms and conditions. In addition to the Grand Prize winner, another design finalist has also be disqualified for similar reasons.
Despite the disqualifications, the company stated that they would not be awarding the top prize to any other contestant. Meaning that despite announcing the shirt for Pokémon Sword and Shield, it appears that the user-designed t-shirt won’t be in the game after all.
The official statement from UNIQLO reads as follows:
UNIQLO, the Japanese global retailer, today announces that it has disqualified the Grand Prize winner and another finalist in its Pokémon-themed UT GRAND PRIX 2019 design contest after learning that the design in question were not in accordance with the terms of that competitions. UNIQLO will not award the Grand Prize to another entrant or sell merchandise featuring the designs.
UNIQLO apologizes to all stakeholders, including those who looked forward to buying an item with the Grand Prize-winning design, and will take appropriate measures to prevent a similar situation in future.
Although UNIQLO did not disclose the exact reason for disqualification, users across the internet starting questioning the winning design when it was first announced. While separating fact from fiction becomes a near-impossible task without input from the designer, many people reported that either the design had been stolen or that the designer had previously published the same design before (which was against the contest terms).