Urban Outfitters, Inc., has apologized for selling what looked to be a bloodstain-designed Kent State sweatshirt on its website, saying the company did not mean to reference the infamous shooting that left four unarmed students dead at the Ohio university 44 years ago.
“Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused,” said the clothing company in a statement. “It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such.”
The statement went on to say that the sweatshirt’s spattered red coloring was the result of being “sun-faded,” and was not deliberately designed to resemble blood.
“There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way,” said Urban Outfitters. “The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray. Again, we deeply regret that this item was perceived negatively and we have removed it immediately from our website to avoid further upset.”
Buzzfeedoriginally reported that the item was for sale in the women’s section of the company’s website. Described as “washed soft and perfectly broken in,” the one-of-a-kind sweatshirt was available for $129 as of Monday morning. “We only have one, so get it or regret it!” boasted a description for the shirt.
Kent State University is best known for a shooting that took place 44 years ago, during which members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on protesting students and passersby. Four students were killed, and nine wounded. The massacre, memorialized in the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song “Ohio,” came to be an enduring symbol of the Vietnam War and the protest movement it inspired.
Sixty-four-year-old Dean Kahler, who was paralyzed in the shooting, told Fox News Monday that the Urban Outfitters sweatshirt showed “the continued lowbrow of Wall Street.” Kent State University also spoke out against the retailer.
“We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit,” said the school in a statement. “This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.”
It’s not the first time a clothing company has overlooked history in the name of fashion. Last month, Spanish retailer Zara had to pull a children’s T-shirt from its collection because the design resembled concentration camp uniforms worn by Jewish prisoners during the Holocaust. Zara also came under fire recently for manufacturing what many considered to be a racially insensitive T-shirt with the words, “White is the new black,” printed across the chest.