The Conspiracy

How Urban Outfitters is, and is not, like the Sex Pistols [Sensitivity]

A screenshot of the offending shirt, after the insignia was removed | photo courtesy of Penina Kessler

Urban Outfitters recently released a shirt whose insignia bears a resemblance to the Star of David bearing the word JUDE that Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust. The ADL wasted no time in condemning the Philadelphia based clothing brand, saying that it is not the first time they have marketed clothing considered offensive. Dutch clothier Wood Wood, who designed the shirt, apologized on Monday, saying that the logo was based on a set of geometric designs but based on the similarities, they would no longer produce it. Urban Outfitters has removed the old design from their website, instead showing a plain yellow t-shirt without a logo. However, the ADL is continuing to demand an apology.

Which leads me to the question, are we being too sensitive?

Pictures of the original design did bear a resemblance to the Jude patches. But by that logic, any six pointed star does. The offending shape was blue and the ones worn by Jews in the holocaust were yellow. I understand the need for sensitivity, particularly this close to Holocaust Remembrance day, but there is a certain point where defending your heritage simply becomes self-victimizing. I’m not saying this is that case. However, given the chain of events here: the shirt was produced by a Danish company, not Urban Outfitters. The aforementioned company issued an apology and removed the insignia from their shirts. Both retailers removed images of the offending shirts from their websites. I’m inclined to believe that the entire incident was an unfortunate mistake not worth dwelling over. It’s not like they claimed Belsen Was a Gas or engaged in any form of blatant anti-Semitism. Yes, they should have been more careful, and yes, the logo does resemble a badge Jews were forced to wear at an excruciatingly painful part of our history. But honestly, I don’t believe malicious intent was present in this incident, certainly much less than in the Sex Pistols lyrics. And I’m more offended that the shirt costs $100 than anything else, though I could be being insensitive.

Thoughts? Sound off in the comments!


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3 Older Responses to “How Urban Outfitters is, and is not, like the Sex Pistols [Sensitivity]”

  1. georgemcfly
    April 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    I agree with this article completely. Was it a mistake? Yes probably so. Was it intentional? I highly doubt it. The T-shirt is made and designed by Wood Wood not Urban Outfitters. Maybe the blame should be placed on Wood Wood. There are so many other issues people should be focusing on rather than a T-shirt at Urban Outfitters.

  2. imogeanxhp
    April 26, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    I agree with this article as well. I do not believe it was intentional however, I respect Wood Wood for apologizing. They realized the implications of the shirt and never manufactured it. It was no skin off their teeth to apologize and it makes them look good. I wish Urban Outfitters would apologize, it would require little effort on their part and would help me regain respect for their company once again.I feel like it was Urban’s fault for positing the picture not Wood Woods so they should be the one to apologize. I’m not personally offended by the shirt, but I think it is weird that Urban Outfitters refuses to apologize.

  3. Andrea
    May 2, 2012 at 6:00 am #

    WOOD WOOD is a Danish street-fashion design company.

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