Problematic Fashion: Let’s talk about Urban Outfitters

If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably have read my piece on problematic fashion.

If you haven’t here’s a link where you can check it out: Fat Shaming Fashion Disaster?

Anyways, I wanted to revisit this topic of “Problematic Fashion” because let’s face it, sometimes clothing companies market some pretty tasteless products- and no one really talks about it.

I, however, think it’s something we need to be talking about, for several reasons:


Clothing companies market young children


What I’m about to show you isn’t exclusively marketed towards adults. Although most of these items have been pulled since they raised controversies…when they were being sold they were marketed across all their social media platforms, showcased in their stores, etc.

Children in our current generation are having more access to the internet, therefore being able to see the problematic messages expressed on the clothing items, and being exposed to it at such a young age.


It’s not “trendy” to be problematic


Urban Outfitter’s markets items that are trendy, usually gaining inspiration from earlier eras(like their tendency to bring backdated fashion trends like the “mom jeans”) What’s not “trendy” is romanticizing disorders, mocking stereotypes, etc. Here are just a few items that Urban Outfitters has marketed throughout the years.


The Kent State Sweatshirt


If you follow the link above, you’ll see a pink “Kent State” sweatshirt which upon first glance seems harmless. Looking at the sweatshirt closely, however, you’ll notice the bloodstains surrounding the text. Kent State suffered from a massacre in 1979, so obviously, the release recieved criticism. Urban Outfitters claimed  the “holes” and “red spots” were not intended to upset anyone and was just apart of the design. Kent State University  released a statement expressing their distaste for the collection.

The Depression Shirt


Mental Illness is something that many people struggle with and is something that most people do not take being mocked lightly. Urban Outfitters released a slightly cropped shirt that you can see by clicking the link above. It features the word “depression” written plastered over the entire shirt as if it was the name of a band or some sort of hobby. Usually, we see slogan tees like this feature words like “Dance” or “Music”…not the name of a mental illness thousands of people in our society struggle with on a daily basis.

Here are some tweets I found after the release:


Both tweets also feature the “eat less” shirt, another problematic release, promoting the eating disorder anorexia.

These are only a couple examples of the problematic materials that Urban Outfitters have released, and I encourage you to do some research after you read this post.

These products will continue to be sold and sadly, people will still buy them. Urban Outfitter’s is one of the most popular retailers for young adults and thousands of people purchase their clothing every day.


So what can we do about this?


Well, we can start paying attention to what we see being advertised on the internet and start talking about it. We can talk to our friends, our family members, maybe even the people who *cough cough* make the decisions to market these items?

What do you think of problematic fashion? Do you think it’s something we need to pay more attention to? Let me know in the comments!


5 thoughts on “Problematic Fashion: Let’s talk about Urban Outfitters

  1. I am surprised that what happened with Urban Outfitters hasn’t blown up as the H&M sweater back in the summer did. It saddens me that companies profit off individuals’ pain. Mental illness is no joke, nor should companies have the audacity to profit off them. Do you know if there are ways in order to contact Urban Outfitters in order to state our disapproval? Why hasn’t this backlash become prominent on social media?


  2. HOLY CRAP HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS?! thank you for educating us! I think it is truly truly important to keep up to ethical practices in environment especially when it comes to children being socialized to think this is okay. Not only should we be proactive in fashion but also on social media and other platforms children and teens have access to.


  3. I didn’t know about this either!! I think this is a super important lesson to note. When we choose to wear a shirt that promotes a certain message we have to be aware of the audiences that we are reaching. Wearing a shirt that says “eat less” is reinforcing a negative habit that many people struggle with and promoting very unhealthy habits.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading!! And yes unfortunately most of the stuff I talked about(and much more) has slipped under the radar because UO if a very popular brand. I agree that the messages we promote no matter what harm are extremely impactful to our community!!


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