The most important rule of the hipster canon is to always reaffirm your edginess. Whether it’s being ironically racist in a Native American headdress or a T-shirt that’s some kind of dubious throwback to Nazi Germany, pushing (overstepping) boundaries in the most annoying, offensive way possible is crucial to the hipster lifestyle. Which is why it should come as no surprise that mall purveyor of the Brooklyn-centric aesthetic, Urban Outfitters, is coming under fire for another glaringly offensive product it’s shilling in the name of fashion.
This time, the retailer defiles the legacy of the antiwar protesters that were famously slaughtered at Kent State University by the Army National Guard during a campus demonstration against the Vietnam War in the 70s. The retailer was offering a one-of-a-kind faded vintage sweatshirt bearing the university’s logo. It’s all good until you notice the speckles of red dotting the sweatshirt that look a lot like blood splatter, which would be cool, if four students hadn’t died during the protest that happened on May 4, 1970.
Of course, shoppers took to Twitter to call out Urban Outfitters and the brand quickly released a statement of apology. It says the red marks weren’t meant to look like blood splatter, and instead are what’s left of the original sweatshirt color.
“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 company wrote. “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.”