Susan Chalifoux / Tribune News Service
Susan Chalifoux / Tribune News Service


By Haide Hernandez

Fashion companies have gone to offensive lengths to exploit sales and heighten awareness of their brands.

Retailers reported receiving more than $600 million in this type of sales for the first half of 2014, despite drawing the ire of blacks, Jews, Native Americans, liberals, alcoholics — basically everyone.

Urban Outfitters released a Kent State sweatshirt splattered with blood. They called the design a tribute to the 1970 National Guard shooting that left four unarmed college students dead. Compare that to selling blood-splattered hoodies in commemoration of Trayvon Martin’s execution.

To the PC police, Urban Outfitters’ edgy branding is a repeat offender.

In 2008, they offended Jews by selling a shirt depicting a Palestine youth holding an AK-47 assault rifle with “victimized” written under the provocative image.

Earlier this year, apparel company Zara drew scorn when it released a children’s top that resembled uniforms worn by prisoners at Nazi concentration camps. They issued an apology, stating it was meant to look like a western sheriff badge, and pulled the merchandise from stores.

“Given the environment of product in this super, hyper competitive business, crazy things are going to slip through,” said retail consultant Howard Davidowitz.

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