Happy Monday all. I hope everyone had a smashing break and is getting back in the swing of things with classes. After my first class this morning, I began browsing the Internet and stumbled upon an article on the Huffington Post about Urban Outfitters.
Prior to reading this article, I would consider myself a fan of Urban Outfitters. They have edgy, off-beat clothing that you don’t find at most stores, and they also have funny and quirky books and gadgets. Despite the crazy price tag on their clothing, I shop there every once in a while. I’ve heard things in the past about the store and how they have produced products that are slightly offensive, but I didn’t really know the details, so when I stumbled upon this article, naturally I read it.
The article summarizes how the company is under fire yet again for producing something offensive: a crop top t-shirt that has the word “depression” written all over it in block letters. Many people have compared this shirt to the infamous “eat less” t-shirt the company produced in 2010. Many customers took to Twitter, questioning “When will Urban Outfitters stop making mental illness a fashion statement?” The company apologized, and responded by saying that Depression is a small brand clothing line that they are trying to support, and they had no intention of glamorizing mental illness.
The rest of the article went on to document 15 instances in which the company produced offensive products that ended up being pulled from stores. In 2010, the company put a t-shirt on their website with the color option of “Obama/Black.” After receiving scrutiny, the brand pulled the shirt, saying the color scheme was a combination of their color “Obama blue” and black. Another included a mock-Monopoly board game called “Ghettopoly,” as well as a greeting card with a rewritten version of the popular children’s rhyme about Jack and Jill, that was labeled transphobic by LGTB groups.
I could understand if perhaps the company made news with offensive merchandise once or twice, but the consistency at which Urban Outfitters keeps producing offensive products astounds me. I never realized the types of things the company produced that kept offending people, and the skewed messages these products present. Even with the depression and Obama/black t-shirts, sure they have an excuse, but there is no way the every day consumer can look at those items and know the story behind it. They are producing things for the masses, not the select few people who are in contact with the companies providing merchandise to the store. There excuses are not valid. The company needs to seriously rethink what they think is “edgy,” and realize that often times it is straight up ignorant and offensive.
Have a great first day of classes, and thanks for reading.