Not failing to leave its mark in the fashion industry, Urban Outfitters has created nothing but buzz and received constant attention. Operating in several countries, such as Canada, The United Kingdom, and France, it is an industry that caters to teens and young adults. Urban Outfitters tends to create a buzz, and for many cases the news that spreads is not positive towards the company. Although it is a unique store, with a special shopping experience and a popular “hipster” style, the company has faced many controversies one too many times.
On January 5th 2015, People Magazine released information on a certain picture that Urban Outfitters was demanded to take off of their online website. The United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority ordered for them to take down a picture of a model wearing lingerie, advertising the “thigh gap”. The “thigh gap” has been a term promoted among teens, especially teen girls, in which one must have a certain amount of space between their thighs to be classified as “skinny”. They United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority claimed,“We considered that the model was very thin, and noted, in particular, that there was a significant gap between the model’s thighs, and that her thighs and knees were a similar width,” according to Time. It was the ASA (people who create guidelines that U.K brands must follow for ads and imaging), who believed that the model looked too skinny and didn’t meet the guidelines of a healthy model. Urban Outfitters retracted the complaint saying, “The model was represented by one of the UK’s most successful and well-respected agencies. We do not believe she was underweight.” Many found this to be controversial, especially due to the company having a very delicate clientele of teenage girls, who may potentially be at risk for struggling with a growing body image.
This has not been the only eyebrow raiser that Urban Outfitters has created, there have been many incidents in the past couple of years that have made many people reconsider putting their money into this company. Another argumentative product along the lines of body image was when they released a t-shirt that said “eat less” displayed on an appealingly underweight model. Although the message according to Urban Outfitters is not relating to any type of eating disorder, they claim that “Eat less or more or however much you’d like in this seriously soft knit tee cut long and topped with a v-neck” (According to alternet.org). So although it was not intending to be about literally eating less, many customers felt that it was still and influence to eating disorders. They believed that it would create negativity among teens and promote anorexia.
Although it is a very popular and well-known store, Urban Outfitters has created many products that have caused disbelief and controversy to several people. According to alternet.org, the company is aware of their faults, and has released many apologies saying “this truth does not excuse us from our failure to identify potential controversial products head on. We, as a company who caters to a college-age demographic, have a responsibility to uphold to our customers. Given our history of controversial issues, we understand how our sincerity may be questioned.”
The products that stores release and display hold great importance in reflecting the company and the ethics they hold. It is important to be aware of the stores you shop at, as well as the reputation they have before you invest into their products. How many more chances will Urban Outfitters get before they are labelled a bad name in the fashion industry?