Posted by Molly Lamoureux
After the outrageously offensive Kent State sweatshirt fiasco in the summer of 2014, Urban Outfitters seemed to evade ridicule after a public apology. Little did we know, that would be the first of the store’s many public offenses.
Racism appears to be Urban Outfitters’ offending topic of choice. When it seemed that selling clothing items under the category “OBAMA/BLACK” was as racist is the store could get, Urban Outfitters’ released the gray/white-striped tapestry reminiscent of Nazi-holocaust clothing.
Not only is the product alluding to a piece of clothing worn by concentration camp prisoners, but the tapestry also includes a sprinkling of pink triangles. The pink triangle during Nazi Germany symbolized a prisoner who was allegedly homosexual.
Mass media isn’t the only outlet that’s throwing a fit. The controversy is hitting home for many individuals, as well. Abraham H. Foxman, holocaust survivor and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a recent press release that the product is “deeply offensive and should not be mainstreamed into popular culture.” Within hours of the ADL press release, the product on the website had no available image and was “sold out,” proving that even small voices can influence big decisions.
The “Triangle-Stripe Curtain” is just one of Urban Outfitters’ many offenses. What was originally believed to be an honest mistake, now appears to be intentions of deliberate controversy and commotion. The dorm decor and fashion supplier’s motto might as well be “No press is bad press.”
But, especially in this case, is there such a thing as bad press? Is this something that the media is covering responsibly? Is this sort of press detrimental to Urban Outfitters as a brand? Does the way in which the media covers the issue affect our buying habits as a society? As individuals?