Urban Outfitters, home of T-shirts emblazoned with sassy or ironic sayings or perhaps clothing that unfortunately hearkens back to the Holocaust, is in hot water yet again. This time the trouble is all about a few shirts bearing pro-drinking messages, which is perhaps not the best idea for a store that has a huge underage demographic it’s actively trying to sell things to. Ruh roh.
The shirts bear sayings like “I Vote For Vodka,” “USA Drinking Team” and “I Drink You’re Cute,” all modeled by ladies that appear to be pretty young, points out Yahoo! Shine. Sure, a 22-year-old could walk in the store and just as easily purchase a shirt, but the fact is that Urban Outfitter’s key demographic is 18-24, with the under-18 crowd coming in at a close second.
Even if the shirts are just supposed to be in good fun, critics aren’t so pleased with teens wearing them.
“Kids shouldn’t be wearing these t-shirts,” Jan Withers, National President of MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving), told Shine. “Marketing [alcohol-related products] to teens is not in any way acceptable.” The up side? She says the shirts could provide an opening for parents to talk about drinking to their teens.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Federal Trade Commission’s program to prevent underage drinking says the shirts are troubling but not illegal.
“You can’t pull them from outlets,” she told Shine. “We need more research on drop out rates associated with teens and drinking. The numbers are appalling.”
It’s a fine line to walk between offensive/inappropriate, but it seems Urban Outfitters has no problem walking it.