Frankly, I’m not surprised by Urban Outfitters’ decision to sell a blood-stained, bullet hole-riddled sweater that blatantly refers to the 1970 shooting of four students at Kent State University. But, while the clothing company has released a number of offensive products, this sweater has simply gone too far.
The company sold the single sweater for $129 online; it was then put up for a $2,500 resale on Ebay, before it was eventually taken off the website. I’m sickened by the fact that a person would not only buy this sweater, but then try to re-sell it at such a high price. At this rate, Urban Outfitters and similarly-minded companies might as well begin pumping out Columbine, Sandy Hook Elementary, and Michael Brown attire to sell.
In response to this controversial incident, a slew of overwhelmingly negative comments emerged on social media. For example, Twitter user @toritaylor pointed out the horrific truth in stating, “How[ever] many @UrbanOutfitters staff OK’ed the design before it was printed = how[ever] many people should get fired.”
A company that hides behind poorly thought-out excuses clearly needs to find a new lawyer.
Twitter user @SamSPN13 responded to the incident with, “That’s just a punch in the face. I loved your store. Never shopping there again.”
The fact that the sweater was even up for sale means that it was designed, processed, and deemed appropriate by the company’s administration. Any company that considers graphic portrayals of a deceased person’s blood as an enticing mechanism for profit is one that should not be in business. How staggeringly immoral does a company have to be to entertain this notion?
Urban Outfitters has taken notice of the issue, and has since released an apology for the sweater, stating that “it was never [their] intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970.” However, I’m unconvinced that they would coincidentally depict blood splatter and bullet holes on a garment branded “Kent State University.”
In a Twitter statement, Urban Outfitters claimed that the red stains were “discoloration from the original shade of the sweater,” and the holes were due to “natural wear and fray.” If this is the case, then why would there be a $129 price tag? A company that hides behind these poorly thought-out excuses clearly needs to find a new lawyer.
I feel that Urban Outfitters, as a company, employs some of the most distasteful marketing strategies I’ve witnessed, and I will not be shopping there again. Anyone who belittles death and tries to profit from it needs to rethink these actions. Urban Outfitters, earn your profits by making comfortable, stylish, unobjectionable clothing rather than by inexcusable attempts to gain publicity.