Urban Outfitters Draws Criticism with Shoah Chic - The Jewish Voice
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Friday, August 19, 2022

Urban Outfitters Draws Criticism with Shoah Chic

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The “Kellogg Tee” being offered by Urban Outfitters featured a cloth patch that looked suspiciously like the badge that Nazis forced the Jews to wear during World War II. The badges in World War II were yellow, as where this badge is blue, but is surrounded by yellow. It was enough, however, to elicit the concern of Jewish groups.Urban Outfitters finds itself at the center of controversy after selling T-shirts with a pocket patch that the Anti Defamation League says resembles the yellow Star of David Jews were forced to wear under Nazi regimes during the Holocaust.  

“We find this use of symbolism to be extremely distasteful and offensive, and we are outraged that your company would make this product available to your customers,” writes Philadelphia regional ADL director Barry Morrison, in a letter to Richard A. Hayne, who is the chairman and chief executive of Urban Outfitters. 

The “Kellogg Tee,” as the shirt is called, is from a Danish label called Wood Wood and was on sale on Urban Outfitters’ site for $100.  The patch in question is a blue, six-pointed star on a yellow t-shirt.  Urban Outfitters has since responded to the accusations by removing the patch.  Time cites the designer, Wood Wood, as claiming that the patch is just a prototype and was not the final image.  Wood Wood co-founder Brian Jensen released a statement, explaining, “First of all the graphic is not the Star of David, and I can assure you that this is in no way a reference to Judaism, Nazism or the Holocaust. The graphic came from working with patchwork and geometric patterns for our spring/summer collection ‘State of Mind’.  However when we received the prototype of this particular style we did recognize the resemblance, which is why we decided not to include the star patch on the final production T-shirt.” [While this does explain how the patch’s design might be the result of an unfortunate coincidence, and not an intentional Holocaust reference, it doesn’t explain how Urban Outfitters justifies charging a hundred dollars for a yellow t-shirt. –Ed.]

This isn’t the first time Urban Outfitters has been in hot water.  Navaho Nation filed a lawsuit against the retailer earlier this year for using the word “Navaho” on their products without authorization.  Irish groups were angered earlier this year as well when Urban Outfitters began selling St. Patrick’s Day products such as a T-shirt with the words “Irish I Were Drunk.”  Jews (and Israel supporters generally) also expressed their outrage previously when Urban Outfitters attempted to market a keffiyeh (an Arab-style scarf made famous by arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat and now popular among terrorist supporters, anti-Israel activists, and hipsters) as a “peace scarf.”

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