On Thursday, a customer notified Stevie Koerner, an independent jewelry designer, that Urban Outfitters were selling an exact copy of her design and even swiped her marketing copy, "Wear your love." Urban Outfitter's catalog copy reads, "Wear your locale love." The Etsy shop owner began producing a line of state and country shaped pendants with a heart cut-out in 2005. Her creations became so successful through her online shop that she was able to quit her day job and work full-time pursuing her passion for making jewelry. How ironic that a large corporation that appeals to a culture desperate for authenticity and originality, steal from original individuals.
Urban Outfitters have been accused several times in previous years of outright theft from independent designers and make no stake in hiding that fact or stopping the behavior. Stevie addressed this with an announcement on her tumblr blog:
"I'm very disappointed in Urban Outfitters. I know they have stolen designs from plenty of other artists. I understand that they are a business, but it's not cool to completely rip off an independent designer's work."
She's right. Not cool and completely cheeky.
In even more positive PR for Urban Outfitters, its CEO Richard Hayne has donated over $13,000 to Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum's campaigns. In the past, Santorum has contributed to the No Child Left Behind bill, and attempted to cleverly disguise intelligent design promotion while removing the study of evolution from school curriculums. His effort was unsuccessful. Santorum has also been known to make racial and gender slurs and once stated, "If we allow gay marriage, next thing you know people will be marrying goldfish," which speaks volumes about his character as well as his ability to form an analogy.
Urban Outfitters steal designs from the kind of people they wish to target and also support a right-wing homophobe and racist when they sell t-shirts with statement, "Friends don't let friends vote Republican"?
I believe I just had an overdose of irony and need to go lie down.