Tasteless Try-Hards

Urban Outfitters is a popular brand among many of my peers.  The brand’s style is quirky with an edge and tends to give off a grungy “hipster” vibe that targets high school and college students.  The brand has even been referred to as “upscale homeless” (which my favorite way to refer to this style).  Many of the brand’s pieces advertise and endorse sensitive topics like depression and anorexia which gains a lot of attention in the media.  


One of the most well known controversial pieces Urban Outfitters put on shelves is their “Eat Less” T-shirt.  Urban Outfitters shoppers were offended by this T-shirt for numerous reasons.  This item promotes unhealthy dieting and encourages eating disorders to their customers, most of whom are women who already feel pressure to be thin.  As one would expect, Urban Outfitters received a lot of scrutiny in result of this item and promptly pulled it from their website.

Not only is this shirt tasteless, it is blatantly offensive to those who have or have had eating disorders.  By marketing a shirt like this, it could easily trigger eating disorder behavior and cause psychological damage to their customers.


This is not the first time that Urban Outfitters has advertised offensive items.  In the past, they have also made a shirt with the word “depression” printed all over it.  Responses to this item were very negative and it has resulted in the removal of this shirt from stores.  Urban Outfitters have not been able to distribute these products without offending their customers, which makes me question why they continue to pop up in stores and online?

As a corporation seeking as much profit as possible, the only answer to my question is money.  They are consistently portrayed in a bad light and receive a lot of negative PR for their offensive products, however they maintain their brand and profit.  The controversies have surprisingly proven to increase their sales.  This kind of behavior is ethically wrong, no matter how much the company profits and it is truly astonishing that Urban Outfitters finds it acceptable to market these products with no remorse.  

Urban Outfitters is known for testing the limits when it comes to their products, but creating clothing that fosters eating disorders and glamorizes a serious mental illness is unacceptable.  It’s nauseating that Urban Outfitters advertises these items at all, and even further PROFITS from the attention.  


  •  source: http://www.mtlblog.com/2014/01/the-10-most-controversial-urban-outfitters-products/


4 thoughts on “Tasteless Try-Hards

  1. I completely agree with this piece. I find Urban Outfitter’s “style” to be less fashion and more shock appeal. As for how they seem to make a profit after negative PR and what seems to be advertising of depression and eating disorders, I feel that no one truly knows.


  2. Personally, I really like Urban and their clothes as well as FreePeople and Anthropologie which are two other clothing companies connected with Urban, however I agree that there comes a point where testing the limits becomes too much. FreePeople and Anthropologie are part of the Urban brand and FreePeople has never tried to test the limits in a way that only hurts consumers, so clearly its possible so there really is not any point to that market strategy.


  3. I think that Urban really loves to shock consumers and confuse them. Their, at times, twisted sense of fashion does that fairly well. While I do not support the “Eat Less” or “Depression” shirts, I think that balancing these negative shirt prints with surprisingly positive words could do some good for their PR.


  4. I personally have liked to shop at UrbanOutfitters in the past but, after seeming their “Eat Less” shirts and other bold statement shirts, I felt like boycotting the company. I think that it was a bold yet negative decision for their PR.


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