Urban Outfitters Misses the Mark

Hipster megabrand Urban Outfitters may have hit an all time low this week.. The chain is well known for clothing items that push the envelope, and sometimes carry semi-offesive phrasing. But, all of this is in the past and looks minor compared to the latest blunder.

Urban Outfitters pushed out a “vintage” “one of a kind” crew-neck sweatshirt with the Kent State University logo on the front, and the item featured fake blood stains. The item seemed to be playing on the 1970 Kent State shootings that took place. The item sold out because there was only one. The owner of the infamous sweatshirt has placed it on eBay offering to charity.

Urban Outfitters has released a statement offering that the item was not meant to elude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State, but was simply a sun-faded hoodie. But not everyone is buying it.

Recently, UO has lost a large amount of their fan base and seem to be struggling to keep those who remain. This elaborate PR stunt was pathetic in trying to bring attention back to the floundering company.

Social media has taken to destroy the attempt and the backlash is causing most likely permanent damage. What most companies fail to see, and what is right in front of them, is that fans are easy to loose. Social media is making the spread of advertising blunders as easy as clicking a button. Although making advertisements and products that attract negative attention does indeed bring press, it can do more damage than good.

In the wake of the anniversary of 9/11 and due to changing society it is not appropriate to make jokes that involve tragedy. With the company already flailing, and this clearly making it worse, is there hope for Urban Outfitters to bounce back from this?



Ciambriello, R. (2014, September 15). Urban Outfitters Just Hit a New Low by Selling Bloody Kent State Sweatshirt. Retrieved September 18, 2014.

7 thoughts on “Urban Outfitters Misses the Mark

  1. Realistically, I seriously doubt Urban Outfitters will be affected by this incident. The company’s target audience is full of desensitized teenagers who are willing to spend $50+ on a pair of jeans. That sort of carelessness is what made the company so popular in the first place. Had this been a more reputable shop such as Macy’s, they would likely suffer huge losses from their older customer base. The only way Urban Outfitters will really lose business is if its clothing stopped being trendy. As long as there are young adults and those young adults want to stay fashionable, companies like this will continue to get away with dishonorable acts such as this.

    This is coming from someone who window shops at Urban Outfitters. I personally don’t buy their clothes much because they overprice everything. This sweater didn’t affect my opinion much, as I find it more of a crime to charge so much for cheap clothing.


  2. I personally do not shop at urban outfitters for reasons like this. Their clothes are always trying to make a statement (in this case not a good one) and be controversial. Do they get talked about sure, but I don’t want my clothes make political statements I just want clothes that fit and look good on me. Its horrifying that they would use the tragedy of many people as a marketing ploy just to gain attention and I am glad I am not their customer.


  3. At first, I was willing to excuse this as an innocent mistake on Urban Outfitters part. Upon further inspection of the sweater (the bright red splotches) and the fact that Kent State hasn’t really been topical lately, their innocence becomes harder and harder to believe. I don’t think UO will lose much in sales. They may, however, lose the business of their older demographic (20 something young adults).


  4. I think this is absolutely horrible. To worsen matters, Urban claimed that there was an error in the dyes used to create the sweatshirt. Clearly they have had a lapse in judgement, and I am disappointed that they will not even own up to it.


  5. This is not the first slip up that Urban Outfitters has had in recent months. They’ve stirred up a lot of controversies with shirts that promote horrific messages like “eat less” or “size 0,” and now this nonsense. You would think that their PR team would be experienced enough by now that they would attempt to decrease the antics that result in a huge loss of an appeal, but that don’t seem to have learned their lesson.


  6. This reminds me of the occurrence that happened in recent years where Urban Outfitters sold a shirt that said “eat less” promoting young women to have unhealthy eating habits. The shirt was taken down also but it is an outrage that a company would continue to sell offensive and insensitive clothing.


  7. I personally love shopping at Urban Outfitters but I think that they have recently been messing up big time with what they have been putting out to the public. The image that you referenced above was something that I thought was absolutely ridiculous and even though they sent out an apology letter for others “misinterpreting” their essential meaning of the product, they definitely didn’t gain customers. Anther example is the shirt that said eat less. This was a huge issue for their store as Sophia Bush and other celebrities have joined in to put down these different product.


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