Urban Outfitters Under Fire For Maybe Sorta Promoting Underage Drinking With Sassy T-Shirts


(Urban Outfitters)

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.

Urban Outfitter’s T-Shirts Glorify Drinking: Just in Time for School [Yahoo! Shine]


Edit Your Comment

  1. legotech says:

    I’m convinced that they look at sales figures and every time there’s a noticeable drop, they do something that will get them in the news. Holocaust shirts that were “only prototypes”, offensive drunken Irishmen, offensive Native American…they still have a few minority groups to go before they have to start actually working at publicity.

  2. one swell foop says:

    As a representative of DAMM (Drunks Against Mad Mothers), I am appalled at the suggestion that there is anything wrong with promoting the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Consumption of wine has been shown to have health benefits and throughout my high school, college, and now law school career, vodka, in particular, has helped keep me healthy. By maintaining a high blood alcohol level at all times I was able to make by body inhospitable to various bacteria and viruses that would otherwise impair the effectiveness of my studies.

    Posit that MADD and associated groups are funded by big pharma in an effort to curb healthy alcohol consumption in an effort to boost the recreational use of prescription medications.

    • axhandler1 says:

      I would like to join your fine group, sir. Where might I apply?

      • one swell foop says:

        The beauty of our group is there are hidden members everywhere. Just stroll down to your nearest public house, start drinking, and you’ll have begun the training process. As part of the training process you’ll learn the basic tenets of DAMM members like, “Screw those prudes, I need another drink!” and learn basics skills like not falling down. After a period of training, the length of which is determined by how quickly your drinking abilities are honed, you’ll realize that you’re a full fledged DAMM member.

        Please note that DAMM membership is immediately revoke upon consumption of Jagermeister or Goldslager and you’ll have to serve a one year probationary period for bad taste in drink choice before you can be considered for membership again.

        • axhandler1 says:

          Well looks like I’ve been in training for years and didn’t even know it! Unfortunately, I’m currently on probation (what can I say, my friends like Jager bombs)

        • CalicoGal says:

          My personal addendum would be no liquor from plastic bottles. I have a reputation to uphold, ya know…

      • Coffee says:

        The first rule of DAMM is that I was too blacked out to remember where I applied.

  3. bnceo says:

    MADD loses all credibility when the original founder is no longer there because the organization turned the mission into anti-alcohol which borders on prohibition.

    • Velvet Jones says:

      Not just prohibition. The biggest members are now lawyers, who reap HUGE fees from all of the DUI cases. It no longer has anything to do with safety, it is all about revenue and “getting people in to the system”. Things like ARD are big money makers for private companies who “sell” alcohol awareness training and rehabilitation programs. All mandated by the state of course.

    • Cerne says:

      Not to mention that something like 90% off the money they raise goes towards more fund raising.

  4. highfructosepornsyrup says:

    I’m not, in the least, offended this. The problem with Americans isn’t the drinking, it’s the driving.

    • Applekid says:

      Hell, most people can’t drive well even when sober. The dozen accidents every rush hour morning in my area is proof of that.

      • CalicoGal says:

        Heck, driving while on the phone/texting is *WAY* worse than drinking and driving!!

        MYTHBUSTERS did it!!!

  5. Martha Gail says:

    The worst thing here is how tacky they are. Who wants to publicly announce how much of a lush he or she is?

  6. You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

    I’m more offended by the cost. $29 for that t-shirt with no sleeves?

    • Coffee says:

      That’s, like, three bottles of shitty vodka…what a rip…a real alcoholic would just buy a wife beater at the Good Will and celebrate the savings.

  7. shepd says:

    Yes, because the modern-day WCTU has ever had anything useful to say…

    • hobochangbar says:

      Raise a toast to Frances Elizabeth Willard with a spirit from her home town. There is a distillery named in her honor: fewspirits.com

      I look forward to sampling the “Harry J. Anslinger” strain of weed when that prohibition ends too!

  8. El_Fez says:

    You stay classy, Urban Outfitters!

  9. Hi_Hello says:

    drinking age should be 12.
    That way they can’t drink and drive.

  10. dush says:

    When the shirts saying “I [heart] to Drink and Drive” then maybe the complaints will be reasonable.

  11. msbaskx2 says:

    Anyone who would buy a shirt like this is already in trouble…and it isn’t because of these shirts.

    No self-respecting human, young or old, would ever pay $29 for such a stupid (and ugly) shirt. To paraphrase a previous poster, “What kind of a person wants to publicly announce how much of a lush he or she is?”

  12. Cerne says:

    There’s a simple solution here. The USA could lower their puritanical drinking age to something more in line with concepts like freedom and rationality. 18 years olds can vote, get married, buy a gun, be held legally responsible for contracts, join the army, etc. Yet they can’t drink?

    • axhandler1 says:

      If we let 18 year olds start drinking (like they used to be able to) this country will fall apart. See how much trouble Europe is in? We could end up just like them! Oh lordy lordy, please don’t let the 18 year olds drink!

      Sarcasm aside, I totally agree. I think the drinking age in this coutry definitely contributes to so-called “binge drinking” problems in college, where high school kids who have no experience with drinking get put in a situation with no parents and all the booze they want at their fingertips. Also, exactly all the points you made. It’s ridiuclous that young men and women are considered old enough to die fighting for their country, but not old enough to step into a bar and order a beer.

  13. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    Take the booze away from these kids and someone give them a sandwich please!