Skip to main content

I designed a Uniqlo T-shirt with my phone

I designed a Uniqlo T-shirt with my phone


Japan's UTme app turns your finger swipes into fashion

Share this story

Uniqlo occupies a weird place in the clothing landscape. The Japanese fast-fashion behemoth bounces between tasteful minimalism and bland normcore that your dad would find suspicious for all the wrong reasons. But if there’s one thing just about everyone can agree on, it’s that Uniqlo is a pretty great place to go T-shirt shopping.

The store produces new designs and collaborations at a dizzying pace, and earlier this year launched "The New Model T" — a redesign with stronger materials and no seams along the side. The new UT line is now under the creative direction of Nigo, who founded legendary Japanese streetware label A Bathing Ape, with Pharrell Williams on board as the public face of the brand. And now you can design your own Uniqlo tee straight from your smartphone.


The UTme service, which recently launched in Japan, is a simple app for iOS, Android, and web that gives you a reasonable degree of freedom to create, print, and buy your own designs. There are some major limitations — right now it only offers white shirts, and you're given a fairly small area on the chest to work with — but there's a lot to like about the app as well. Each shirt starts off as a blank canvas, giving you the option to add "paint," type, or photos, and you can choose to upload your creation to the website for the world to see.

There's nothing stopping you from creating a design in a more user-friendly app

These interfaces have their quirks. The painting option is difficult to get solid results from, and much better suited to rough designs — there's no way to draw lines or shapes beside free-form finger painting, and your color palette is limited. Typographical functionality is very basic, too, only letting you use Uniqlo's trademark font with almost no freedom over placement. Still, the company has designed UTme! to be fun and creative even when you stick to the built-in tools.

Drawing with your fingers results in realistic paint spatters across the T-shirt canvas, heightening the sense that your design is your own work. You can customize further by splashing and glitching your image after the fact, with unusually involving input methods; I achieved the glitching effect on the T-shirt above by shaking the phone to make the design flicker like a broken monitor. But while this functionality won't be for everyone, you can import your own photos or other images from the camera roll, so there's nothing stopping you from creating your design in a more user-friendly app.

Nothing except Uniqlo's policies, that is — my first two attempts at ordering shirts were rebuffed within a couple of hours. The first design, a photo of our social media manager Sam Sheffer with a glitzy "The Verge" wordmark underneath, was rejected for no given reason, and the second, a simple hand-drawn Penrose triangle with the word "Verge" next to it, was turned down because it might have infringed on The Verge's intellectual property. Uniqlo clearly has human staff monitoring each submission and sending out rejection emails.


But I got my Verge T-shirt in the end without too much trouble — just removing the word "Verge" did the trick. I ordered it along with a design based on a photo I took on the Japanese island of Niijima, which I wrote across the top in white text. Each T-shirt cost ¥1,990 (about $20) and arrived lightning-fast; I ordered on a Tuesday night and took delivery Thursday morning. The quality of the inkjet print is decent, with the Verge logo printed in bold primary colors and the high-contrast Niijima photo turning out well enough, if not quite across the full spectrum of hues.

Of course there's nothing new about ordering custom T-shirts online, but the design of the UTme app combined with Uniqlo's obvious cachet in the area makes it the most interesting option yet. There's no word on when or whether UTme will make it outside of Japan, however, so your dreams of quick, easy, and smartphone-powered T-shirt creation may have to be put on hold for the time being.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 24 Not just you

External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.

Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.

A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.

Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.

External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.

External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.