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Monday, September 15, 2014

Urban Outfitters Takes it Too Far with Blood-Splattered Kent State Sweatshirt

Posted By on Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 10:02 AM

kentstatesweatshirt.jpg

For only $2,500, this tasteless, "vintage" blood-splattered Kent State University sweatshirt can be yours!

Urban Outfitters, the fashion maven and cultural provocateur of your local college town or suburban shopping center, is responsible for this thing. It retailed the "washed soft and perfectly broken in" item at $129, but it was quickly purchased.  

Buzzfeed published the listing Sunday night, presenting the stark contrast in the product description — "excellent condition," "loose and slouchy" — and the event the sweatshirt is clearly designed to commemorate:

In May, 1970, of course, four students were killed and nine more were wounded as the U.S. National Guard opened fire on students protesting the Vietnam War. Kent became a nucleus and signpost for youth uprisings nationwide and the dramatic enactment of America's opposition. 

Which is, like, so totally Urban Outfitters' raison d'etre, am I right? (Where dem #funtights at, y'all?) 

Kent State, and most of the sentient Twitterverse, has taken unhappy note. "Furor," "ire" and "outrage" have all been used to describe the social media response.

In a statement, the University invited Urban Outfitters leaders and "folks who invested in this item" to tour their May 4 Visitors Center, a new museum meant to remember the events of that day and that time. 

"May 4, 1970, was a watershed moment for the country and especially the Kent State family," the university said. "We lost four students that day while nine others were wounded and countless others were changed forever."

UPDATE: Urban Outfitters has now removed the item from its website, apologizing while also arguing that the sweatshirt was never meant to recall the 1970 shooting. Here's the statement in full: 

Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused. It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such. The one-of-a-kind item was purchased as part of our sun-faded vintage collection. There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray. Again, we deeply regret that this item was perceived negatively and we have removed it immediately from our website to avoid further upset.

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