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Urban Outfitters sued for $28 million for using salacious images of model to sell clothes. Whatever happened to good wholesome advertising?


Top Shop was forced to take down this campaign after complaints of using anorexic models

point of the image may portray a child in a sexually suggestive manner and may be in violation of one or more federal and/or state laws.’

Salacious stuff indeed. Which raises the following question: Will Urban Outfitter’s new campaign lead to new added sales (certainly the extra press helps right?) or will the public stay away given the proximity to pedophile themes? Yet in a climate where you have fashion lines introducing lingerie for girls as young as 4-10 years old maybe this type of marketing is par for the course, no matter how uncomfortably close it skirts to taboo themes.

Perhaps the steering to dangerous themes can be explained by the fact that our culture has replaced altruist pursuits and dispositions with the notion of acquisition. Instead of racing and competing in marathons for example, which requires a lot of effort and discipline all one needs today is enough savvy to buy those products that have been branded as approximating the virtue of being a winner, a warrior or any other preferred value. An idea that has not been lost by advertisers and manufacturers who seek to seduce potential consumers.

That said, perhaps it was only a matter of time before some fashion house was perceived to cross the line of protocol (but then again define protocol) as it sought to engage an audience and qualify it with a rebellious theme that would appeal to a certain clique?  As some would argue, isn’t that what so often attracts us to the delights of fashion, the ease of the medium to engage us in dangerous and potentially dubious reposes?

As offended as some of us may be Urban Outfitter’s latest tact, or their lack of proprietary in garnering the underage model’s parents permission to use said images, it may well be the new tact in fashion merchandizing and like it or not it might sell like hot cakes. After all, it didn’t take too much effort before punk (itself once seen as crossing the lines of proprietary) became the staple uniform of a certain click.

Yet, what makes this situation all the more ironic is where the market once used to rely on our artists, thinkers, musicians to redefine the proprietaries of what amounted to the next wave of fashion, art, good taste or bad taste, that role has more than ever fallen squarely on the shoulders of manufacturers. Johhny Rotten of the Sex Pistols would surely be appalled…


American Apparel with some of their latest ad campaigns.



  1. Interesting topic; syntactical nightmare of an article.

    I genuinely had to check if this was the result of Google Translate….but alas.

  2. There’s a certain irony that the parents were at these photo shoots and approved of them and now is suing, suggesting that is the rights over which they are most concerned. Young girls are rotinely exploited — hell, we’re all exploited in the marketplace — which puts the burden of protecting them squarely on mummy and daddy, who too often have their own emotiona/financial/narcissistic needs fulfilled by their lovey’s pictures being taken.

    I do think parents ought to have the commercial rights over photographs of 15 year olds, but alas what are we to do when their selfishly motivated and pressured into allowing the shots in the first place?

    Oh, welcome to the big time Hailey Clauson. You were too grown up for youth anyway.

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