Urban Outfitters and Kent State

By Jess Nocera on September 19, 2014

Urban Outfitters has always been known to be the store where your leave with just one shopping bag but your pockets completely empty. Why? Because the clothes at Urban Outfitters are extremely expensive, therefore you receive only a little even though you are shelling out a lot. This Philadelphia-based brand that creates hipster and bohemian clothing has been around for years.

However, Urban Outfitters has become known for a completely different reason.  Recently, they have made a habit of creating “tasteless” products. Urban has been in the news for a few of their highly controversial clothing pieces, but their latest one has crossed the line. Their latest creation: a “vintage” Kent State University sweatshirt that seems to feature bloodstains on it.  In 1970, an incident occurred on the Kent State campus in which four students were killed by National Guard soldiers in connection with a protest of the Cambodian Campaign.

News of the sweatshirt exploded on the Internet after Buzzfeed reported it following a screenshot that first surfaced on Twitter. This “one-of-a-kind” sweatshirt was being sold for $129 and Urban advertised it as “Get it or regret it!” However, Urban took down the sweatshirt from their website very quickly. There is an anonymous person, with the account name of “kentstatesweater,” on eBay who claims to have bought it with a starting bid of $550.  The alleged owner of the sweatshirt wrote the following caption with the picture of their receipt for the purchase of the sweatshirt: “I ordered it and am waiting myself, as soon as it arrives, I’ll ship it to you. Perfect for Halloween or whatever your deal is.” Completely ridiculous.

Urban Outfitters did release a public apology of sorts but denied the relation of the design of their sweatshirt and bloodstains. Part of their apology states, “The one-of-a-kind item was purchased as part of our sun-faded vintage collection. There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray.” Many will find this apology difficult to accept but as of now this is the story that Urban is going with.

The other “tasteless” clothing pieces that Urban Outfitters has marketed over the last few months include: a top that featured the word “depression” all over it. Another shirt that was nearly a mirror image to the insignia Jews were forced to wear when Germany was under control by the Nazi Regime during the World War II era. As if matters could not get any worse for Urban, a famous actress began to boycott all of the stores. One Tree Hill star Sophia Bush was completely outraged by Urban’s infamous “Eat Less” shirt that she saw as a “pro-anorexia message.”

So will all white girls stop flocking to Urban Outfitters? Probably not.  But Urban will probably lose some of their customers due to all these “tasteless” clothing pieces. Urban Outfitters will probably (and hopefully) lower their ridiculous prices on their clothing so that their customers will stay. However, hopefully Urban will learn from their fourth clothing mistake that they need to really think before they create certain clothing pieces.

Sophomore at the University of Maryland and a double major in Journalism and Government & Politics. As most college students, Netflix is my number one friend and I am a frequent visitor to procrastiNATION. My talents include not being able to ride a bike and knowing tons of Gilmore Girls trivia.

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