By Heather Farrell
Whether being sued by Navajo Indians for trademark infringement or receiving backlash about a new design, Urban Outfitters is no stranger to controversy.
Urban Outfitters’ newest line-crosser is a Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt. If you were browsing on Urban Outfitters’ website on Monday, September 15th, you would have noticed the line, “We only have one so get it or regret it!”
Urban Outfitters was trying to sell a “Vintage Kent State” sweatshirt as part of their “Urban Renewal” line. “Urban Renewal” is a part of the retailer’s website where they sell clothes that have been refurbished from flea markets or other second-hand markets.
The sweatshirt was not made or designed by the store–only sold by them. This, however, did not change the fact that Urban Outfitters was under fire for the shirt’s motif.
People who have seen pictures of the shirt noticed patterns that looked similar to bullet holes and blood splatters. This outraged many, including some IHA students.
“I think it’s just wrong that [Urban Outfitters] bought it to sell, seeing and knowing what it looked like. I definitely lost a little respect for them. I’m more hesitant now to buy things from there,” IHA freshman Emily Koehne remarked.
Costumers are not the only ones who feel the retailers have crossed the line; Kent State University feels it is an untactful reference to the Kent State Massacre in 1970.
The massacre happened May 4th, 1970 at an anti-war rally at Kent State when the National Guard opened fire on 2,000 people. Four people were killed and nine were wounded, all of which were students.
Urban Outfitters said they did not alter the sweatshirt in any way and the markings were just from natural wear. They apologized via Twitter saying:
“Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused. It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such. The one-of-a-kind item was purchased as part of our sun-faded vintage collection. There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray. Again, we deeply regret that this item was perceived negatively and we have removed it immediately from our website to avoid further upset.”
However, the damage has already been done. One customer bought the sweatshirt at the $129 price tag. The shopper was then trying to sell it on eBay for a starting bid of $550. The seller stated that half of the proceeds would go to The Southern Poverty Law Center.