Urban Outfitters’ latest controversy involves a vintage Kent State University sweatshirt with bloodstain-like marks, stirring the outrage of those who remember the Kent State shooting massacre in 1970, resulting in the deaths of four students and nine injuries.
The $129 sweatshirt was a one-of-a-kind online exclusive for the company listed under “Vintage Finds.” The company later apologized and claimed the blood-like stains were due to “discoloration.”
On the other hand, Kent State said, “We take great offense to a company using our pain for the publicity and profit. This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.” Kent State also invited Urban Outfitters and the people involved with the sweatshirt to tour the university’s May 4 Visitors Center to understand the massacre.
Whether Urban Outfitters released the sweatshirt thinking it was clever or as an ignorant choice made with ill judgment, the company is responsible for the products they make.
Perhaps this may be a marketing strategy to get people talking about the company. After all, bad publicity is better than no publicity. If this is the case, it is definitely working because outraged people across the nation helped make the sweatshirt go viral across various social media platforms.
Although the intention of the sweatshirt is unknown, Urban Outfitters has a record of selling insensitive products. This includes T-shirts mocking eating disorders with its print “Eat Less,” an insensitive Monopoly knockoff board game titled Ghettopoly that degrades ethical groups through stereotypes, a T-shirt with a star badge similar to the ones Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust and many more.
Is Urban Outfitters in lack of creative designers to the point where they have to resort to continuously selling offensive items to catch the attention of shoppers? While we may disagree on fashion faux pas, Urban Outfitters’ insensitive Kent State sweatshirt with bloodstain-like design is one definite fashion faux pas.
Unsigned editorials represent the opinion of the Campus Times Editorial Board.