An apology means nothing when as a company you continue making a series of bad decisions. Latest example: Kent State jerseys with what appear to be blood splatters.


“We embrace music, fashion, art, architecture, design and technology as integral to our business and infuse each with our individualistic, nonconformist approach to life.”

Urban Outfitters wants you to think they are producing clothing and products that promote a nonconformist life.

The definition of nonconformist is a person who refuses to conform, as to established customs, attitudes or ideas.

You want to know a secret?

Urban Outfitters is just as conformist as every other store in the mall.

Doing their diligence to continue to sell you overpriced products, which ironically every “hipster” in America can buy.

Not so “nonconformist” after all, are they?

A walk down the company’s product timeline will show you that they have had more than one offensive product go up for sale.

The list of controversies they have caused is almost endless, but let’s take a look at what I deemed the worst of the worst.

1. The “Eat Less” T-shirt

In 2010 Urban Outfitters produced a line of shirts glamorizing eating disorders.

These items were quickly viewed as extremely controversial and tasteless.

Up to 24 million people in the U.S suffer from some form of an eating disorder.

The message that Urban Outfitters is promoting to their buyers is an unhealthy one.

2. The Holocaust-evoking “Jewish Star” shirt

In 2012 the company went under fire again, but this time for a product that appeared to mock the Holocaust.

The shirt coincidentally went on sale just days after National Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The Holocaust happened between 1933 to 1945 and was the largest genocide of the 20th century.

It’s hard to imagine that Urban Outfitters thought the public would be receptive to the idea.

3. Pill bottle-shaped alcohol paraphernalia

In 2013 Urban Outfitters produced a line of products, flasks, shot glasses and pint glasses that mimicked drug bottles.

These items were eventually pulled by the company due to them being “misinterpreted” by the public.

Hundreds of thousands more of today’s college students are abusing prescription drugs than in the 1990s.

So, promotion of alcohol paraphernalia shaped and labeled as drug bottles should be a concern to parents and students alike.

Urban Outfitters claims that the products were misinterpreted. How an alcohol flask labeled “Boozemin” can be “misinterpreted” is still up for debate.

4. A “vintage,” faux-bloodstained Kent State Sweatshirt

Lastly, and most recently on Sept. 14, a new sweatshirt was produced that has been seen by the public as a reference to the Kent State Massacre that happened in 1970 when the National Guard was called onto the campus to squelch a Vietnam War protest, ending in the shooting deaths of four students. Nine others were wounded in the shooting, one of whom was paralized.

The shirt featured what appeared to be blood splatters and tears.

Urban Outfitters once again apologized, this time claiming the product was “perceived negatively.” Realizing their first apology might have been perceived as anything but sincere, the company issued a second apology this week, going into greater detail of how they came about deciding on this style of what they called a “vintage” sweatshirt.

The company has established a pattern of shock-then-apologize. How many times do they apologize before they change their ways?

Urban Outfitters won’t stop what they are doing, but we can stop shopping there.

A company that promotes themselves as “individualistic” needs to differentiate between that and downright offensive.

By Molly Carver

Molly Carver is Social Media Editor for MBU Timeline and news anchor for MBU Timeline-Broadcast. She is majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Journalism. After graduation, Carver plans to find work with a boutique public relations agency where she can utilize her passions for writing and strategic planning.