Controversial Clothing

Today’s news is completely full of Melania Trump. If you haven’t seen it, take a gander at this before continuing on. I am all for freedom of expression, but never to the extent of deliberately or unknowingly offending others. Lately as a society we have changed the lines where funny becomes offensive. We now stand up and fight when something feels wrong. Of course the media loves controversy but it gets me to thinking, wondering if people – businesses – designers really think out their clothing from start to finish.

Why Urban Outfitters wouldn’t have a team of people reviewing designs before they are printed and released? No one thought, hmm maybe a sweatshirt covered in what looks like blood splatter with Kent State’s logo would be in bad taste? In 1970, Ohio National Guard troops opened fire on Vietnam-war protesters on the campus of Kent State University. Four student lives were lost and injured nine others, many of whom were not involved in the protest but merely passing by.

If blood splatter didn’t hit home for you maybe the thought of a song about date rape that was considered one of the biggest songs of 2013 was changed into a playful tshirt for young girls. “Just let me liberate you,” Thicke coos, as if some woman telling him “no” isn’t really what she wants. He knows you want it, so why are you fighting him? The music video itself is completely misogynist by objectifying naked women while fully-clothed men walk around. Why not make a tshirt with a cartoon “My Little Pony” unicorn with a rainbow, why the connotations of this very adult song?

In 2015, Zara released another equally questionable article of clothing for children that was pulled almost instantly after hitting the shelves. Zara said the gold star was not supposed to represent the Star of David, but the stars sheriffs wore in the United States’ frontier times. Perhaps the message would have been better received had it not been on a vertical stripe background…

To this day still hugely popular in the fashion industry, both fast fashion and runway designer alike: camo print. An argument could be made about the cultural and ceremonial significance of wearing the print or a military structure piece. Would dawning military stripes and imitation medals demean the sacrifices and honour these symbols represent? It has been used heavily for many years to protest military and government actions which offer a powerful but peaceful form of protest, circa Vietnam war era.

As a depression victim myself I don’t even know how to process this one, let alone respond to it. Another faux-pas by Urban Outfitters that didn’t even make it to store shelves before it was pulled from their website. Glorifying mental illness or bringing awareness? Its hard to say.

While on the topic of UO, how about this tshirt that probably wasn’t the most body-positive move Urban Outfitters could make. It goes hand in hand with Perez Hilton’s tshirt “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” that was pulled from sales at the same time. Thinking like that at home is one thing, plastering it on a tshirt for millions to see and buy is another.

This tshirt is a unique and somewhat disturbing item, which in itself is a no-win situation. The T-shirt, which Nike manufactured quite a long time before the April 15th Boston bombings was created to commemorate two series wins by the Yankees over the Red Sox and features the words “Boston Massacre” in blood-spattered capital letters. It is currently up for grabs on eBay with bids over $150,000 US. Curious.

Which brings me to my initial topic, Melania’s choice of jacket while going to a very heated, very sensitive publicity stop in Texas. With everything going on in the States right now, you’d think with all the millions of dollars and teams of employees, a stylist even, someone didn’t think to say maybe not wear this Zara jacket from 2016 to this particular event? Better yet, don’t wear it at all considering the political stature you currently have.

Quite frankly, whether she intended its message or not, who wears such a hurtful slogan to visit the Upbring New Hope Children’s Center, which houses about 55 migrant children. On average 65 children are separated from their families each day, and over 2,342 were taken just between May 5 and June 9th, 2018. “I don’t care, do you?” I think the world would be a better place if everyone cared more.


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    1. I mean if you read into it further it says the jacket was like $39 from 2016… a woman with that kind of money, unlimited luxury designer access – either she wears high end stilettos when discussing poverty OR she chooses a super cheap jacket with a powerful negative message.

  1. I totally agree !. I don’t really know what to say, as this is beyond ignorance and disrespect towards those sweet innocent children. I can’t even begin to fathom the helplessness, hurt, pain and loss these children are feeling. All I can think of is the stories of the war that my parents would talk about. I’m so very, very sorry that these poor children are having this happen to them. I don’t blame America… I blame the leader of the country.

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