Urban Outfitters had to pull crop top shirts with the repeated word ‘Depression’ from their store shelves after backlash on social media about making the serious disease a fashion statement.
“Hey everyone, we hear you and we are taking the shirt down from the site,” Urban Outfitters responded in a tweet, after angry customers shamed the retailer for turning mental illness into a fashion statement.
Laura Johnson, executive director of women’s apparel and accessories at Urban, explained in an email, “We did not create the Depression brand logo tee shirt and it most certainly was not a social statement of any kind. It was brought to our attention that customers were offended by the product. Though is was not intended to exploit mental illness, we respectfully removed the product as to not further upset anyone. We’re sorry to those offended by the tee. We were trying to support a small brand, not glamorize mental illness in any way.”
The depression shirt was created by a small Singaporean clothing line named “Depression.” On the Depression bio page, designers Andrew Loh and Kenny Lim explain what the clothing line name represents.
“DEPRESSION represents breaking from boredom, making a statement and standing out, and aims to meet the needs, occasions and aspirations of the Creative professional. In signature monochrome, each collection is presented as a black comedy based on medical themes, and some titles of their men’s, women’s and shoes collections include AW12 ‘Plastic Surgery’ and AW13 ‘Dysmorphia’. Seven years later, the former Art Director and Copywriter team is a lot less depressed, and has created the fast-fashion diffusion line ANTIDEPRESSANT, a trendy and more casual line of graphic t-shirts and basics that’s inspired by whimsical thoughts and geek cultures.”
“It was the first and only time we have our logo printed across the shirt,” explained designer Kenny Lim. “The logo t-shirt was originally a men’s t-shirt that was sold in Singapore for our fans. It was sold out very quickly. Urban Outfitters had requested for the same style in a women’s cropped top.”
Lim went on to say, “I just think we are being misunderstood. I just want the focus to be on the brand.”
This is the second time in the past month Urban Outfitters has been attacked for selling controversial clothing. A Change.org petition was launched to urge the company to yank that shirt and another that says “eat less,” both which “could have potentially devastating effects on your young target audience,” the letter reads.
National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates depression affects as many as 8% of Americans. A startling 25 million people will have a major depressive episode this year, and when untreated, depression can lead to suicide. For reasons unknown, depression occurs 70% more frequently in women, reported The Guardian.
Urban Outfitters Under Fire For Depression shirt
Youth clothing retailer Urban Outfitters is causing controversy selling a cropped monochromatic t-shirt that has the word ‘depression’ covering it in different sized fonts.
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