Urban Outfitters are known for their hipster style and their edgy clothing styles; however, how far is too far when pushing the envelope. Well that’s what this store found out the hard way. In 2015, Urban came out with a tapestry that bore a striking resemblance to the uniforms worn by gay male prisoners in Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust. It was striped with an upside-down pink triangle. This quickly outraged many consumers and it was pulled from the shelf. But this was not the first time Urban Outfitters has made such a mistake.
There have actually been fifteen accounts where urban has created apparel or décor that has been seen as completely distasteful and put the company under fire. However, with this many different instances, some have begun to wonder if the company is intentionally stirring up controversy to keep it in the general conversational buzz.
As a PR professional, looking at that option would be an extremely heavy risk. When presenting your brand to the public, it’s important to establish what you want to convey. Creating controversy may work for some brands, however with a clothing company such as Urban, making offensive statements over and over could easily deter people from the business. Specifically, for Urban, their continuous drive to push boundaries has kept them in the topic of conversation, but at what price does one sacrifice the integrity of the company. A PR professional’s job is to find that balance of staying relevant while staying in a positive light with consumers. Maybe Urban should switch to positive messages and images that still have that shock value instead of constantly dwelling on negative events in history.