Monday, September 15, 2014

What Were They Thinking?


     If you've been surfing about the web today, chances are this is not the first time you've seen this photo.

     This was a vintage style Kent State sweatshirt that Urban Outfitters was apparently selling yesterday for $129.00.  Not surprising there was almost immediate backlash for the perceived allusion to the May 4th, 1970 Kent State shooting, where four students were killed by the National Guard.

     What genius at Urban Outfitters, thought: "This is a product, we would be proud to sell"?
Urban Outfitters issued an apology later today on Twitlonger.  Are we supposed to be impressed they realized that the apology needed to exceed the 140 characters allowed by Twitter?  Urban Outfitters  claimed they never intended to allude to the tragic events that took place, and that the red stains were just a discoloration from the original color of the shirt. 

     A backward ass apology if ever there was and one problem:

     Kent State University's colors are navy and gold.

     The team name for their various athletic teams, are the Golden Flashes.  Has been since 1927.

     On Kent State's site, there's a link to their bookstore with the phrase, "Get Your Gold On!"

     So why, did Urban Outfitters choose to make, or (let's play along, wink,wink) buy a vintage sweatshirt that was a blotched up faded red?  Did some buyer for Urban Outfitter, actually buy this somewhere?  Who made it?  Come on; if it really was a sun dyed vintage sweatshirt, not altered in any shape or way, who did they buy it from?  

     What's more, think it's pretty clear of what they were thinking of with a price tag of $129.  More than most of Urban Outfitters' other sweatshirts.  I found another sweatshirt for $129, called "Totally Blown Destroyed Sweatshirt." Frankly, for $129, I'm quite capable of destroying a sweatshirt on my own, thank you very much.  It's offensive.

     Kent State's actual sweatshirts, that are the classic collegiate look, sell for, at the most $70.

     I tried to find the original ad; I was curious as to Urban Outfitters' claim in their apology that it was a "one of a kind," (thank goodness); I wanted to see if they offered this "one of a kind" in different sizes.  While I could not find the original post, I did come across a Boston.com post on the subject that did have a photo of the original online ad, and claimed that Urban Outfitters had brazenly quipped, "We only have one, so get it or regret it."  And the size?  ONE SIZE- meaning: One Size Fits All.  How Convenient.  So, Urban Outfitters expects us to believe, that one of their buyers combed the country, and found a 20+ year old Kent State faded red, women's one size fits all sweatshirt?  If it's that faded out, a flea market would have sold it for a lot less.  Seems a red sweatshirt that can't hold its color would not be that prized of an item.  Especially considering that red is not one of Kent State's colors.  If it was originally splattered with red splotches, it would have been offensive then as well. 

     Now, Urban Outfitters has only, that the item is SOLD OUT.  Like it was in such hot demand; and gee, "If you like this, you might be into these."  Seems like a piss poor apology to me. 

      Especially since according to the Boston.com article, Urban Outfitters did in fact sell the sweatshirt, to another entrepreneurial ass no less, who tried to sell it on Ebay.  This is hardly the first time Urban Outfitters has sold an offensive item.  There's been Drunk Jesus tee shirts, tee shirts with "Depression" scribbled all over, and my personal fav, a tee that reads, "Eat Less."   Since it wasn't their first, I'm sure it won't be their last.  No class.
    
     I'm not Urban Outfitter's target audience to be sure.  My closet does have a similar style, my clothes are actually vintage though, not vintage styled.  I didn't buy them that way; they became that way over time.  I buy classics, and my size hasn't changed a whole lot in 20 or so years.  And I sure as hell didn't pay $129 for any sweatshirt.  So there.

    While I am sure that Urban Outfitters thinks that this is a savvy marketing campaign, they've got going-edgy, go for the shock, stir the pot and all that jazz; they need to take heed.  While I am not their preferred customer, I am the mother of 2 burgeoning fashionistas, and it won't be long till they will be the sought after market.

Here's some wisdom that I try to impart on them, that Urban Outfitters may want to consider.

Perception is reality.

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.  

Then there's these daily jewels, that Urban Outfitters models inspire:

Don't pout.

Close your mouth; you'll let flies in

Get your hair out of your eyes; for that matter- wash your hair

Try not to look like something the cat dragged in

Stand up straight

And remember, "Dress shabbily; people notice the clothes; dress impeccably and they notice the woman." From Sigourney Weaver's character in 1988's Working Girl.  Not sure if Coco Channel actually ever said it but it always seemed like good advice.


Last but not least, for all:

Think before you speak and be nice and considerate of others.