Urban Outfitters has issued an apology for its controversial "Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt." In it, the brand states that the top's faded red was meant to resemble "natural wear and fray." But, to many, the blood-like red splatters at the shirt's shoulders and hem evoked the 1970 Kent State Massacre, in which members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on a crowd of unarmed students protesting the Vietnam War, killing four and wounding nine.
The full text of UO's apology, provided to us by a company spokesperson, and also appearing on the brand's Twitter page, can be read below. In the meantime, perhaps every fashion company should hire a full-time historian to catch these tone-deaf pieces of clothing before they get made. Or, given the ongoing incidents of shootings on school campuses, maybe blood-red splatters isn't in the best taste to decorate any college sweatshirt. Because for anyone with the slightest working knowledge of history, this is the most distressing example of "distressing" we've seen.
"Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused. 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 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." (International Business Times)