Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Urban Outfitters Thinks Offensive Is Fashionable

I am not a label queen. Well, let me clarify a bit: I am not a clothing label queen. Don’t get me wrong, I like nice clothes, but I don’t search out the names for my closet. I don’t Gucci, or Pucci or Prada; I don’t Marc Jacobs or Tom Ford; I don’t even GAP or Old Navy. And I definitely don’t Urban Outfitters, and I never will after hearing this story.

See, Urban Outfitters has been, um, urged by the Anti-Defamation League [ADL] — a group that fights anti-Semitism — to stop selling a gray-and-white-striped tapestry [top, left] in their stores.

Why, you ask? Well, the pretty little tapestry also features a pink triangle on it and is an eerie representation of the clothing gay men were forced to wear in Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust [bottom, left]. Well, golly, nothings say fashionable like dead Jews and Gays, am I right?

Abraham Foxman, the ADL national director and a Holocaust survivor:
“Whether intentional or not, this gray and white striped pattern and pink triangle combination is deeply offensive and should not be mainstreamed into popular culture. We urge Urban Outfitters to immediately remove the product eerily reminiscent of clothing forced upon the victims of the Holocaust from their stores and online”
A subsequent search on the Urban Outfitters’ website seems to show that the item has already been removed, but this is not the first time Urban Outfitters has been criticized for selling an apparently anti-Semitic product, or other equally disgusting clothing items.

In 2012, they sold a T-shirt featuring what many called the Star of David on the breast pocket — reminiscent of the patch Jews wore in concentration camps. Urban Outfitters removed the item from their website, but the shirt’s designer Wood Wood responded by saying that the graphic was not the Star of David and was “no way a reference to Judaism, Nazism, or the Holocaust.” 

A quick Google search brought up the shirt, and while I didn’t get Star of David from it, I could see a resemblance. But, but, Urban Outfitters has released some other questionable pieces of clothing, like selling what looks like a blood-spattered  Kent State sweatshirt; Kent Sate, if you don’t know, was the  site of a 1970 shooting in which four unarmed college students were killed by the Ohio National Guard during a Vietnam War protest.

Sounds oh so fashionable, no? Well, if you like that, howsabout their "Jesus, I'm Drunk" shirt, with a graphic depicting Jesus Christ holding up a beer mug? Not so nice. Or, the women's shirt printed with the word "depression" on it that many felt made light of mental illness; or the "Lord Ganesh" socks featuring the Hindu god that offended Hindus.
Urban Outfitters seems to have a habit of marketing offensive clothing items and then removing them as soon as a controversy occurs. It seems to me, they’re doing this just to get attention, but is this really the kind of attention they desire?

Howsabout creating inexpensive, well-made, good looking clothes and leave the offensive out? That would be a nice thing, no?


the dogs' mother said...

Marketing strategy -
Offend as many people as possible.
Get people to go to your website to complain. People will then buy bucketloads of clothes... oops.

Biki Honko said...

I've never thankfully bought anything from there. They should be ashamed, but folks like that never ever are.

viktor kerney said...