Urban Outfitters’ Gear Stirs Up Controversy

By Ella Brodskaya [June 4th, 2012] 


Urban Outfitters is certainly no stranger to controversy. Last year, Urban Outfitters was sued by the parents of a teenage model, whose image was printed on t-shirts and sold in stores, without the written consent of her parents for her image to be released to the public. Later, that same year, Urban Outfitters was at the forefront of another legal mess, after selling “Navajo” products in violation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 and the Navajo Nation’s trademarks.

Sometimes, we just don’t learn from our mistakes.

Urban Outfitters released a line of clothing in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, but the line was far from honorable. A women’s tank top with the slogan “Irish I were Drunk” and another that read “Kiss Me, I’m Drunk, Or Irish, Or Whatever” are just a few of the offensive stereotypes depicted on the clothing. Several members of the Congressional Ad Hoc Committee took action by sending a scathing letter to the CEO of Urban Outfitters, Tedford Marlow, urging him to discontinue selling the merchandise. Urban Outfitters did not issue a response.

After offending the Irish community, Urban Outfitters strikes yet again. This time, the sales of their “Kellog Tee” have hit a soft spot with the Jewish community. The t-shirt portrays a symbol that looks like the yellow Star of David Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Europe. In response to a letter of condemnation from the Anti-Defamation League, the designer of the shirt, Danish label Wood Wood, reassured everyone that the final production of the t-shirt does not include the Star of David and that the pictures on the Urban Outfitters website were of the prototype (an early sample). The shirt was not meant to resemble a Star of David and was in “no way a reference to judaism, nazism or the holocaust.”

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