I’m a nineteen-year-old girl who loves fashion. I love that the clothes I wear express me in a way that differs from everyone else. With the recent Urban Outfitters controversy and the fact that it is PR Ethics Month, I thought it would be the perfect time to exhibit how the clothing they are producing isn’t only offensive, but it hits a personal spot (and I’m sure several others) that tears me apart.
Urban Outfitters sells exactly what you think they would. They sell the urban, hip, and vintage clothes that would make any suburban girl feel way more urban and hipster than they actually are (including me). But something that many people seem to not know is that the company is gaining a reputation of being offensive and socially controversial. Urban has been known for producing controversial t-shirts since the early 2000’s when the store began, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that the company really started to spiral out of control.
Recently, Urban released a gray V-neck tee with the words “Eat Less” plastered on the front of the shirt. Coming from a girl who has suffered from her own eating and body issues for several years now, the reassurance from a well known store that I’ve shop at stating that it is okay to embrace one’s eating disorder is truly wrathful. We live in a society that already pressures many to feel and attain this unattainable goal of “perfection” to begin with, and the fact that Urban is promoting eating disorders and the ideal of perfectionism leaves me breathless and infuriated.
Not only did the “Eat Less” shirt rub people the wrong way, but Urban also designed a distressed Kent State sweatshirt that mimics the Kent State campus tragedy where 67 students were shot while protesting the Vietnam War. The gray sweatshirt features what appears to be blood splatter and retails for nearly one hundred dollars.
As someone who struggles endlessly with her own body issues, should I really be supporting a company who is promoting that kind of self-destructive thinking? As a college student, should I be supporting a company that imitates campus shootings, where people’s classmates and friends were killed?
Fashion should be able to let one express who they are.