Urban outfitters recently yanked a t-shirt from their shelves, citing "bad press" as the reason. Was it one of their infamous "Voting Is For Old People" shirts? Or possibly the one with money signs encircling the phrase "Everyone Loves A Jewish Girl?" Or maybe one of the many shirt images that have been stolen from independent companies and designers?
Urban Outfitters pulled their "I Support Same Sex Marriage" shirts from their stores and online shop after only a week of availability. Before you cite political neutrality as the reason, the shirt, designed by Tara Littman of Support Shirts, was featured alongside multiple pro-Obama fashion items. However, the difference in controversy between the messages is fairly clear. A major part of the youth-focused segment of the Obama campaign was set on transforming Barack's likeness into a fashion statement. I admit, when reading about this story, I was surprised that Urban Outfitters ever offered the Support shirt in the first place.
UO's founder and former CEO Richard Hayne had donated thousands of dollars to right-wing causes, most notably supporting senator Rick Santorum. In 2006, he claimed that he "very, very, very rarely" had regrets or second thoughts about potentially offensive products (including the shirts listed in the opening of this blog). While Hayne was replaced by openly-gay Glen Senk in 2007, this mentality of pushing the boundaries with statement tees seems to persist. However, what does it say about the company to keep those previous shirts and get rid of Littman's? How much sway does Hayne have as a current chairman of the company? And where does Glen Senk stand with all of this?