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Sunday, May 19
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

Urban's latest screw-up

Nothing says impropriety like hearing that Urban Outfitters has yet again caused a moral controversy with its new merchandise.

The company has created a gray and white-striped wall tapestry adorned with a pink triangle that all-too-closely resembles the clothing Nazis forced gay prisoners to wear in the concentration camps during the Holocaust. This adds to the list of a “vintage” faux-bloodstained Kent State sweatshirt reminiscent of the school’s 1970 massacre, an option to order an “Obama/Black” colored T-shirt and the ever-popular “Eat Less” graphic tee.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has contacted Urban Outfitters urging them to pull the garb that is “eerily reminiscent of the Holocaust” off shelves immediately. In a press release on the organization’s website, ADL national director and Holocaust survivor Abraham H. Foxman stated, “whether intentional or not, this gray and white-striped pattern and pink triangle combination are deeply offensive and should not be mainstreamed into popular culture.”

One would think after more than 14 racially provocative, improper and altogether insensitive controversies that have angered loyal customers, civil rights activists and minorities since 2003, Urban Outfitters would be forced to change its ways. As we have seen, however, that’s definitely not the case.

The indie clothing company markets toward teenage and 20-something “hipsters,” but I have yet to find one self-proclaimed flower child that believes mounting a neo-Nazi flag in their dorm room is a statement to ?modern day fashion.

But that’s just it: if the tapestry were to stay on the store shelves, would shoppers even be aware of what they’re buying?

There’s surely a debate that customers who have purchased this tapestry had no idea that this abstract and minimalistic pattern had anything to do with one of the greatest tragedies in our history. The fault, either way, still falls on Urban Outfitters, who designed it with the specific Holocaust ?symbolism in mind.

I’m stuck on the fact that someone actually thought the design for the tapestry was fashionable and worth resurfacing, and that several other people thought it was okay to manufacture it, giving zero regard to the historical significance whatsoever.

Surely these frowned upon designs are receiving a plethora of media attention, causing more business to be brought to the company overall. But what exactly is causing that media ?attention gives Urban Outfitters a pretty poor image when it comes to the world of ?professionalism.

These reoccurring insensitivities show nothing but irresponsibility radiating from a company I had once invested so much into, and as a loyal shopper to this overpriced yet fashionable clothing outlet, I’m starting to run out of excuses as to why it should keep my ?business.

Though this tapestry is being pulled from stores after the complaints and media attention it has received, it shouldn’t be long before another taboo design makes an appearance when Urban Outfitters decides to joke about yet another sensitive topic.

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