Boycott Urban Outfitters

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Location: Anthropologie, Greenwich, CT, USA; Material: Unknown

Okay, this is another one of my accessories that my support-independent designers-self is a bit embarrassed about because it is from Anthropologie, a major international clothing corporation owned by an even bigger company.  For those who do not know, that company is Urban Outfitters.  Urban Outfitters also owns major female clothing company Free People.  From 2011-2012, I worked at Anthropologie, so I had a very good discount at the store.  This headband was one of the many things I purchased with my discount while working at Anthropologie.  There is a major difference between my opinion of the company now and when I decided to apply/work for it when I was a freshman in college.  I currently have no respect for Urban Outfitters because of all of the controversy surrounding it.  The first reason for this is that the company is known for stealing independent artists’ designs.  The most famous example is the artist on Etsy who sold a beautiful states of the US jewelry line that she was able to quit her job and make a living off of, that is, until Urban Outfitters stole her designs and started selling them for a lot less (see here).  I guess you can afford to sell something for less money if is cheaply, factory made and you’re a big corporate company, right?  There are no excuses for what Urban did.  It is really not that hard to NOT steal other people’s designs.  It’s disgraceful, and frankly, I have no idea why any aspiring artist or creative-type would work for Urban at all because it directly goes against everything they are trying to do.  Unfortunately, if you walk into an Urban store, that is pretty much the only type of person that works there.  I still don’t get why they would knowing everything about the company.

In addition to stealing designs, Urban is known for selling disrespectful clothing, like a shirt they had to pull from sale in 2014 because it had the word “depression” written all over it.  When I saw the shirt, I actually thought that it had to be a joke.  Who on this entire planet would buy a shirt like that and what company (no matter how ethically screwed up) would think that a shirt like that could make them a profit or earn them a good image?  It is just mind-boggling.  In addition, the company used to sell a shirt that says “Eat Less”, which is disgusting.  Both men and women already have enough to worry about with body image these days.   Fashion and clothing SHOULD NOT be a form of bullying. Actress Sophia Bush started a campaign (click here) against Urban Outfitters due to this one shirt.  She also refuses to shop there.  This Huffington Post article says it all: “When will urban outfitters stop making mental illnesses a fashion statement? ”  I am asking the same question. 

In addition, click here to view one of their recently for-sale, offensive graphic tees.  It says “pretty tomboy”, which implies that if you are a tomboy, you are automatically not pretty.  Way to encourage gender normative standards of beauty, Urban.

Perhaps the worst of all, is that the company featured a “vintage” sweatshirt from Kent State (where there were shootings in 1970) with blood spattered on it, and for over $100.  I think this speaks for itself.  Gun violence and death should never be a means of making a profit and frankly, I am shocked more people do not know about Urban selling this sweatshirt.  You can read more about the controversy here.

Okay, rant over.  The point I was trying to make is that I currently do not shop at any of the Urban Outfitters-umbrella stores, and probably never will because I do not agree with the ethics of the company.  Please consider doing this too!  Nonetheless, I still have a lot of items from Anthropologie and I will continue to wear them because I bought them for a reason, because I liked them at the time.  I still like them, but refuse to support a business with such poor morals and taste with additional purchases in the future.   A great alternative is ModCloth.com, which has similar prices to Urban, but supports independent designers (click here, scroll to the section second to the bottom, and read more about this).  In fact, if you click on each Mod Cloth item, it says who it was designed by, and you can click on the designers name, which leads you to a page that has all of their Mod Cloth-featured designs!

All this aside,  I really do love this headband, and it is quite comfortable for a headband!

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