Time for Urban Outfitters To Practice What They Preach

At this rate, Urban Outfitters is digging their own grave. A few weeks ago actress, Sophia Bush, declared her war on the national brand after they manufactured a shirt with the statement, “Eat Less.” With eating disorders and the amount of people who suffer from them at a high, it is remarkably insensitive for Urban Outifitters to market a product to their cliental where it impacts hardest. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder and that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental health diseases.

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“Eat Less,” to an average person is just a stupid shirt that I would not spend 30 dollars on let alone a single cent. However, to the many people suffering from eating disorders, this shirt is a trigger. This trigger could send them spiraling downwards.  This is true, unfortunately in my 21 short years I have been exposed to more mental health disorders through caring for and supporting the people I love suffering from them.  When I was younger, I watched one of my friends struggle with an eating disorder; it is a ferocious disease that messes with not only the mind, but the body and soul of the person, the chance of relapse is high with opportunity for the disease to progress.  It is mind-blowing as to why Urban Outfitters thought that this was a profitable idea, on the contrary more and more are boycotting the brand because of this foul shirt.

According to Urban Outfitters website, they claim that they want their customers to feel something, a connection of some sorts to be the impulse triggering the purchase. Their company profile states, “The emphasis is on creativity. Our goal is to offer a product assortment and an environment so compelling and distinctive that the customer feels an empathetic connection to the brand and is persuaded to buy.” Apparently this connection Urban Outfitters wants us to feel is laced with insensitivity to mental health and based on one of their newest releases, an blasé approach to school shootings.

The newest of poor decisions on behalf of Urban Outfitters is their recently released sweatshirt. This sweatshirt was on display last week in their online store, and was quickly removed. The sweatshirt, looks quite comfy but it was hard to ignore the fake blood splatter and the university it was representing, Kent State. In 1970, the Ohio National Guard open fired on student protestors of the Vietnam War. When the chaos and terror was over three students were dead and nine were violently injured.

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Urban Outfitters is clearly oblivious to the repercussion of promoting a sweatshirt with this message on it. Although the massacre at Kent State was 44 years ago, there is still a sadness regarding the tragic attack on the student protestors. It was a dark time in our nations history and it is vulgar for Urban Outfitters to profit on the tragedy.

I think Urban Outfitters really needs to reevaluate their companies decisions.  Violence amongst students on school campuses is real and it is happening.  Just think back to a few years ago in 2007, when a student open fired at Virginia Tech killing 32 people and wounding 17 more. Or even more recently the heartbreak of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 where 20 young children and 6 teachers were viciously murdered in cold blood by a local young adult. These are incidents that we cannot ignore, and by using school shootings to profit is not only morally wrong but also wildly disgusting.   In no case should the concept of creating a sweatshirt that is covered in fake blood with the name of a scarred university ever be brought to fruition.

Here I am in the middle. With Urban Outfitters being one of my favorite stores, along with the company’s other brands (Anthropology and Free People), I am torn between having a clean moral character and clothes that I love. Thankfully, my ethics are stronger than my love to shop and I think that I will be taking a break from shopping at Urban Outfitters or any of their other brands until they learn to smarten up.  Its time to start practicing what you preach Urban Outfitters, start looking for that empathetic connection with the customers based on love, not hate. Until then, Urban Outfitters, you have lost a frequent customer . . . at least my credit card statement will be easier to pay this month.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: SIOBHAN BRENNAN

Siobhan BrennanSiobhan Brennan is a senior at Fairfield University pursuing a degree in Communication and Sociology & Anthropology. She had her fifteen minutes of fame in the second grade when I was on the PBS show Arthur . . . and she is still waiting for her big return to stardom (dream big, ladies!!) Nothing gets Siobhan going like a good Instagram filter or a witty and charming twitter hashtag, which is why she believes Social Media is the marketing of the future. Siobhan has been known to crush an entire Netflix series in days, with her record being the entire Game of Thrones series in one week. Her idol since the beginning has been Liz Lemon and in true Liz Lemon fashion, yes, she would ALWAYS prefer to be bought mozzarella sticks than a drink at a bar.
 
Read more about and from the author: Siobhan’s WiLab Profile 

Originally posted 2014-10-01 13:00:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter