Urban Outfitters' 11 Missteps

Urban OutfittersThe Week has chronicled 11 "controversies" of Urban Outfitters in the past few years.

The most recent is the company's new t-shirts that some say promote drinking. With slogans such as "I Love Vodka," "USA Drinking Team," and "Misery Loves Alcohol," Urban Outfitters is targeting its main demographic, 18- to 24-year-olds. MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) has taken a strong stance against the product line. The group's president, whose daughter was killed by a intoxicated, underaged driver, said, "Kids shouldn't be wearing these t-shirts." 

The Week tallies other questionable products:

  • A t-shirt offered in two colors: "White/Charcoal" and "Obama/Black." Urban Outfitters responded, admitting "[we] screwed up, and are sincerely sorry," and explaining that they had developed a "Obama Blue" color intended for internal use only.
  • A t-shirt that read "Eat Less" and was displayed on a very thin model.
  • A "Navajo" line of products, which a member of the Santee Sioux Nation called "distasteful and racially demeaning" in a letter to Urban Outfitters' CEO.

Discussion Starters:

  • What's your view of Urban Outfitters' products: clever, insulting, or something else?
  • What advice would you give to the company as it develops future products?