Kent State fashion world responds to bloody sweatshirt

Felicia Ssempala

Urban Outfitters received social media backlash after stories broke about it selling a sweatshirt online referencing the May 4, 1970 shootings of four unarmed Kent State students by the Ohio National Guard.

Urban Outfitters was selling the sweatshirt online for $129. They marketed the Kent State sweatshirt as “vintage” and told buyers, “We only have one, so get it or regret it!”

Noél Palomo-Lovinski, assistant professor of the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, said she was distraught after viewing the sweatshirt for the first time. “This is really gross and very distasteful,” Palomo-Lovinski said.

Social media has been buzzing all morning about the sweatshirt that Urban Outfitters had for sale on its website. Most people on Facebook and Twitter were in uproar, while some thought the whole thing was blown out of proportion.

Lindsey McCallum, senior fashion merchandising major, first saw the sweatshirt from a post on Facebook and was shocked that Urban Outfitters would try to sell apparel of that kind.

“My first impression of the sweatshirt was the same as everybody else’s, so I can’t believe that the people at Urban Outfitters didn’t have the same reaction,” McCallum said.

Students waiting for class to start near the fashion library shared the picture with each other and discussed how appalled with Urban Outfitters they were.

“My thoughts on the sweater is I thought that it was a little insensitive,” Vanessa Robins, junior fashion design major, said. “I get creativity, but when it comes to something like that, the way the blood splatter is in one spot, it looks like they were referencing May 4.”

According to Huffington Post, when it comes to “creativity” with the garments that it sells, Urban Outfitters is no stranger to controversy. They also said this is not the first time Urban Outfitters has tried to sell something offensive, as they’ve used “Obama Black” as a color name for a shirt in the past.

Urban Outfitters has formally written an apology statement to the Kent State University community and removed the product from its site.

William Perrine, associate lecturer for the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, only had a few words to say on the situation.

“It’s in very bad taste,” Perrine said.

Contact Felicia Ssempala at [email protected].