Urban Outfitters is Offensive Once Again

Meredith Wylie




Back in the 1970’s, we were in time of the Vietnam War. In a speech given by President Nixon on April 30, 1970, he told the country how they needed 150,000 more soldiers because the United States was going to invade Cambodia. With the main focus of interest for soldiers being young people, this announcement caused outbreaks around the country for all young people.

Right here in Ohio, Kent State University was extremely upset with the Presidents announcement and made it known. During this riot, student threw fire at the ROTC building in attempt to make a statement of their anger of the war and drafting more people.

In result of these riots being held on Kent State’s campus, the National Guard was sent in to help the riots stop. On May 4, 1970, the National Guard stepped foot on Kent States campus trying to tame the angry students. In result of the National Guard’s presence, there was shooting that began to fire. In results of firing their guns, four students were killed and nine were wounded. The shootings then escalated the countries anger, causing hundreds of colleges around the country to close.

A little less than a year ago, the popular clothing store Urban Outfitters designed a sweatshirt to pay tribute to this tragedy. They designed a sweatshirt that had a logo of Kent State University with a blood red tint, and then in one of the upper shoulders, there are bloody splatters and holes that look like bullet holes. This sweatshirt ran for $129.00 and was blasted everywhere. They were advertising this sweatshirt as if they would think people were going to buy this piece of apparel. This was not the first time that the company has designed controversial clothing. They had previously also designed clothing that was offensive to people. For example: they designed a shirt with a tribute to the Holocaust and Hitler, pro-alcoholic clothing, as well as a shirt that said ‘Eat Less’.

Urban Outfitters ‘claimed’ after the fact of the sweatshirt coming out that this was not their intention at all and they don’t understand why people would think that. For this reason, this was a complete social fail. I don’t know the intentions that Urban Outfitters had when they decided to design this sweatshirt. This was a complete offensive and backfired to the company completely. Overnight, hundreds of tweets, articles, and videos came out about how this was very inappropriate. Kent State University released a statement saying how offensive and hurtful this was to advertise there past pain like this for money. Urban Outfitters released statement saying they are very sorry and they had no intention of relating this back to the tragedy back on May 4, 1970.

Kent State Blood Splattered Sweatshirt Accessed from Gawker.com

In order for this to have gone better for Urban Outfitters, they should not have designed this sweatshirt the way that they did at all, maybe not have designed it at all. The only way that this situation could have gone better were if they were to design a sweatshirt with the Kent State University logo and came out with how this is going back to the University for the loss of the four students back in 1970. It could have been a tribute sweatshirt, without all of the violence that was incorporated into the design. As a consumer at this store, it is very disappointing to hear the kind of clothing that they design and that they are not stopping considering the backlash it keeps giving the company. I am unsure if their intentions of designing this type of clothing is to get people talking about their company to spark interest in other lines that they have, or if they genuinely do not care about the general public and their opinions about their company as a whole.




Rothman, L. (2014, September 15). Why a Kent State sweatshirt at Urban Outfitters is causing an uproar. Retrieved February 11, 2016, from http://time.com/3377949/urban-outfitters-kent-state/


Kent State Incident. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2016, from http://www.history.com/topics/vietnam-war/kent-state


Short, K. (2014, September 15). Urban Outfitters Hits New Low With Faux Blood-Stained Kent State Sweatshirt. Retrieved February 11, 2016, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/15/urban-outfitters-kent-state_n_5821978.html


Ciambriello, R. (2014, September 15). Urban Outfitters Just Hit a New Low by Selling Bloody Kent State Sweatshirt. Retrieved February 11, 2016, from http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/urban-outfitters-just-hit-new-low-selling-bloody-kent-state-sweatshirt-160133


Brody, B. (2014, September 15). With Kent State Shirt, Did Urban Outfitters Finally Go Too Far? Retrieved February 11, 2016, from http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/urban-outfitters-blood-stained-kent-state-shirt-raises-ire/294986/

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