Riot Games officially dropped their 2021 pride merch this week, and it is the best pride apparel line the company has released so far.
The new merchandise line includes a crop top, tank top, and a hoodie, all of them in unisex designs (though the crop top is clearly more targetted at women than men). Both the tank top and the hoodie feature an illustration of a League of Legends ward with a pride rainbow arching over it. The 2021 pride crop top, on the other hand, has a more generic cartoony design that says “Love is OP” written in pride colors.
Just like with last year's 2020 Riot Pride t-shirts, the rainbows featured on the 2021 line can be printed with the LGBTQIA pride colors, as well as transgender, pansexual, lesbian, bisexual, nonbinary, and asexual flag colors.
100% of the net proceeds from the 2021 Pride Merch collection will be donated to the It Gets Better project, an organization dedicated to empowering and uplifting LGTBQIA+ youth around the world.
2021 Pride Crop Top - $25.00
The 2021 Pride Crop Top is a white cropped t-shirt that features a clean, cartoonish design that says "Love is OP" with a heart inside the O and two four-point stars as bookends. The letters of "love" can be styled in LGTBQIA+ colors, as well as the colors for trans, pan, lesbian, bi, non-binary, and asexual folks.
This crop top is clearly targeted at women and people with slimmer forms who want to show their midriff. This design is the biggest step up from last year's basic unisex t-shirt option since it acknowledges the existence of non-masculine body types.
The "Love if OP" illustration is specific enough to clearly reference gaming for the initiated, but it is also generic enough that most people will understand the message of the shirt without having to know much about Riot's games. We haven't had a chance to try on one of these shirts, so we can't speak to comfort and fit, but on the basis of the design alone, this crop top gets high marks from me.
2021 Pride Tank Top - $25.00
The 2021 Pride Tank Top is an off-white unisex design featuring the aforementioned Ward + Rainbow illustration. Like the other designs in this line, you can select from a number of different pride-themed flags for your ward.
The illustration featured on this shirt is definitely more niche since those who don't play League of Legends might not immediately understand what a ward is. That said, the rainbow still sends a pretty clear message, even if strangers don't immediately pick up on the League of Legends reference.
Since this is a unisex design, it will probably fit men a little better than women, which is one downside to creating only one cut for a particular shirt design. However, the 2021 Pride Tank Top is still a big step up from last year's Riot pride t-shirt design, and I would 100% wear this tank top if given the chance.
2021 Pride Hoodie - $55.00
The 2021 Pride Hoodie is a white unisex design that also features the ward + pride rainbow design. As an added bonus, the hoodie also has a smaller version of your chosen pride flag placed on the right sleeve, which is a nice additional touch.
Since most hoodies are unisex anyway, this design should work for pretty much anyone who enjoys wearing sweatshirts. And at only $55.00, this hoodie is pretty affordable compared to even an average hoodie that you would get at a retail clothing shop.
The only downside I see is that a pure white hoodie is like buying a white car, it looks amazing out when clean, but any stains you do acquire are going to be plenty visible.
This collection has a lot going for it. This year's collection is much more inclusive of various body types and needs with its crop top, tank top, and hoodie options. This will cover a wider range of interests for those looking to combine their love of League of Legends with their support for pride.
My biggest gripe is that these designs are solid but safe. The two illustrative designs are both pretty basic and straightforward. It feels like Riot can still go farther and do more with their pride apparel. For example, a more street-wear style option could help elevate this series into something that is fashionable to wear in a variety of contexts. Even adding more options like leggings, hats, and sweat pants could help bring this apparel line into 2021.
- The new cuts and sizes make this line more inclusive than last years single unisex T-shirt
- Designs come in a variety of pride flags, ranging from LGBTQIA+ to Non-binary, and everything in between
- Riot is donating the proceeds to an advocacy organization, instead of profiting off LGBTQIA+ representation
- Product line pretty limited, since it only comes in white shirts and there are no leggings, hats, sweat pants, etc., to select from.
- The basic screen-printed illustrations leave something to be desired on the fashion front - at the end of the day Riot printed their pride designs onto otherwise generic clothing.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.