Outfitter's hurtful items hopefully lead to change

Urban Outfitters has apologized, yet again, for offending its decreasing customer base. The hipster clothing chain’s most recent publicity stunt should be the final straw for consumers.
Earlier this month, Urban Outfitters promoted a one-of-a-kind vintage sweatshirt that automatically caused public uproar. The Kent State University sweatshirt seemingly referenced the 1970 massacre, as it was splattered with what appeared to be red blood.
The $129 sweatshirt reminded online customers of the 4 students killed during the shooting in Ohio and the violence of the Vietnam War, and they justifiably voiced their disgust.
This is not the first time Urban Outfitters has offended consumers, though. In fact, they have a pretty bad track record.
According to Forbes, in 2010, the store listed an item online with the color “Obama/Black.” That same year, t-shirts reading “eat less” and “depression” were finally pulled off the site after criticism that it mocked mental illness and eating disorders. In 2012, Urban Outfitters reached “a new low,” according to the Anti-Defamation League in Philadelphia, as they sold a $120 t-shirt with a star badge resembling the Star of David patch Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany.
Actually, just about every group of people who could be offended by a t-shirt, has been offended by Urban Outfitters. This usually results in the item being pulled from the website, and the offended party being disappointed that they did not receive an apology.
The Kent State sweatshirt caused such disdain, that founder Richard Hayne tweeted an apology stating the item is not supposed to look blood-splattered, and he is hurt people connected it to the 1970 shooting.
Unfortunately, one tweet cannot make up for years of offensive publicity. Urban Outfitter’s marketing promotes prejudice and the trivialization of serious issues in America, such as mental health. Hayne should drop his “bad publicity is better than no publicity” mindset and realize his marketing strategies are unsustainable, and just wrong. If Urban Outfitters needs to remind the public of massacres and encourage eating disorders to get attention, they shouldn’t be a business at all, especially not one marketing to young, impressionable customers.
However, there may be a light at the end of the painfully hip tunnel. The Kent State sweatshirt incident proves there is a line Americans are not willing to cross. This line, thankfully, stops those murdered during a peaceful protest from being trivialized. And, perhaps, the consumer’s attitude to this situation will open a door for more social discussion, exploring why we are offended by what we are, and what it means for our culture.