In contrast to other articles of clothing, a T-shirt can let you display a clear message on your chest. However, if you’re not going for a plain shirt that message can offend. Even top companies such as Urban Outfitters and Abercrombie & Fitch have come under crossfire for designing and selling offensive slogans on T-shirts. We at Hit the Floor found the top 5 most controversial:Source: Urban Outfitters
This ‘Eat Less’ shirt by Urban Outfitters caused such a controversy that it was quickly pulled from the brand’s website in 2011. This was due to severe backlash from critics online, who feared the slogan was an encouragement of eating disorders in young women. Many hit-back at the company, labelling the offensive shirt “tasteless” and “glamourising eating disorders“. The sale of this t-shirt even led to popular actress Sophia Bush, (best known for her role on One Tree Hill) boycotting the brand, for she will not allow Urban Outfitters to make a profit off of, “anorexia promoting shirts“.
Clothing chain Topman was forced to remove hundreds of ‘sexist’ t-shirts in 2012, after customers and anti-violence organisations complained about the design. The offensive slogan had been interpreted by many as excuses for abuse or punishing a partner. Customers criticised the brand for the design with one posting on the website,”Let’s glamorise domestic violence, shall we? Topman you should be ashamed of yourselves“.
[divider]Source: Abercrombie and Fitch
In 2005, Abercrombie and Fitch were caught in controversy over the sale of sexist T-shirts for women. These included, “Available for Parties,” and “I Had a Nightmare I Was a Brunette”. However, one of the most offensive was the slogan,”With These, Who Needs Brains?”. This led to a group of girls from Pennsylvania organising a “girl-cott”, that took off after their TV appearance on the Today Show. Abercrombie and Fitch subsequently pulled the shirts from sale and even discussed with the girls empowering t-shirt slogans.
Company JCPenny were slammed by angry mothers, following the slogan of this shirt which was labelled a “huge fail”. Liz Gumbinner, a blogger at Mom-101 wrote, “How is it funny to promote to young girls that what we value in them is their looks, not their brains?”. Within an hour a petition to pull the shirt from sale had reached 1000 signatures and within two hours the shirt was no longer available online.
Another one of Topman’s ‘sexist’ T-shirts that caused an internet storm. Feminists were upset with the company for their slogan which they felt compared women to animals. A campaign on twitter was started against the obvious sexism of the shirts and even a facebook group was created asking Topman to withdraw the sale of the shirts. After a couple of hours the Facebook group already acquired 322 members, when Topman announced they had pulled the shirts from sale.