Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fourteen Strikes... You're Out.

Being a regular customer at Urban Outfitters, I tend to think most of their clothes are stylish and trendy; however, this company is developing a reputation of going too far to come up with original clothes to the point where they are extremely controversial and offensive.

Numerous people were outraged today when word got out about Urban Outfitters' newest release, a grey-and-white stripped tapestry with a pink triangle on it. This item closely resembles what Nazi concentration camp prisoners were forced to wear if they were gay.

The Anti-Defamation League is an organization created "to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all". They were appalled by this product and urged Urban Outfitters to remove this product because it is "deeply offensive and should not be mainstreamed into popular culture" and is "eerily reminisent of the Holocaust". Urban Outfitters responded to this command by saying they will no longer continue to sell this product; however, word has still gotten out about it.

For those people who saw Ellie's blog post about Urban Outfitters selling a Kent State sweatshirt and an "Eat Less" shirt in September, this post may seem like déjà vu. Urban Outfitters has gone way too far in terms of coming up with clothes that no other store has. They have released fourteen controversial items like the ones both Ellie discussed in September and the most recent tapestry, including a shirt with the color of "Obama Black" and a shirt with a Jewish star on it which resembled the ones Jews had to wear during the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.

When I see this pattern of releasing controversial items happening again and again, it makes me question whether or not I should still shop at this store... Who wants to support a store who has released fourteen offensive items?

In class, we discussed how wearing an inappropriate shirt in public (such as the cuss-word shirt Rudy has) is generally protected under the First Amendment, but how does this tapestry controversary fare in regards to the First Amendment? How is this case different... or is it even different at all?


  1. The most interesting thing to me about this issue is the mistake Urban Outfitters made before with releasing the shirt with the Jewish star. They were highly criticized for this, so why are they releasing another shirt that is pretty much as bad as the other one? I think that these types of clothes are different than the "cuss" word shirts, because those shirts don't have a specific meaning. However, the two shirts from the Holocaust and the Kent State shirt both relate to deeper, more tragic events.

  2. I just wrote a blog post about this too! I agree with your point that Urban Outfitters has a reputation of crossing the line for selling inappropriate merchandise to their customers. Although the public's reaction is accurate in saying that this item is offensive, technically, Urban Outfitters does have the right to sell whatever merchandise they please due to the first amendment. Even though they have the right to sell the tapestry, it doesn't mean that they should. All they are doing right now is losing potential sales due to angry customers..so I guess that is up to their decision.