Urban Consumerism

A brand that often seems to be in the spotlight is Urban Outfitters.  Each year they seem to find some way to piss off some group of people, be it around race, religion, or around disorders.   They have faced a litany of issues from suicidal hair wash, clothing that mimicked terrible moments in history (Kent state shooting, Holocaust, Navajo line) which brought the company into the spotlight for poor taste.

While these are terrible issues it seems to have done little to impact customer perceptions as they are considered the “cool” indie store.  In an article on Forbes.com from 2014, O’Conner mentions that even the top level chain describes their customer as “upscale homeless” and has no regard for offending anyone.  I think post each of the incidents people might have strayed away, but often go back as they curate “vintage” and items that are not seen on just anyone.

Urban has cultivated a cult of cool, in that the people shopping there might be upset but it’s not enough to prevent them from spending money there.  From how to the stores are laid out, merchandising, and the staff UO strives to cultivate that cool factor.  None of these issues seems to have had any major impact for the brand over the years, outside of making profits dip and brand awareness lift.




Staff, T. W. (2016, April 29). 15 Urban Outfitters controversies. Retrieved June 5, 2019, from https://theweek.com/articles/480961/15-urban-outfitters-controversies


O’Connor, C. (2014, September 18). Urban Outfitters’ Real Scandal: Its Disdain For Its Customers. Retrieved June 7, 2019, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2014/09/18/urban-outfitters-real-scandal-its-disdain-for-its-customers/#3064b6023640


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