URBN Needs to #PayUp, Not Be Performative

We’re going to need more than an anthro-apology from Antropologie’s parent company, URBN, and sister brands Urban Outfitters and Free People.

While they may look aspirational from the outside, these lifestyle brands are far from perfect as an organization. Over recent years, the URBN portfolio has been highly critiqued for stealing designs from artisans and not paying influencers for their work.

In recent days, the brands took a PERFORMATIVE stand against racism. In their own words, “injustice, oppression have never been welcome in our community” to which we ask: then why are Black and Brown garment workers not being paid?

Dear URBN — If you truly choose “respect, support, and love” then you’d tell your CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Richard Hayne, to #PayUp for the millions you owe your suppliers and garment makers.

Throughout #COVID, URBN has done the opposite of supporting Black and Brown garment workers. They say “speak up where it matters,” but have flat out ignored our emails and 60K+ petitioners for months.

Urban Outfitters boasts “cultural understanding” on their website by showcasing POC “art and entrepreneurs.” In theory, this sounds great, but the reality is much different. There have been claims of their work being “copies” of small POC independent designers, with teams flying globally to “concept” or steal ideas from cultures.

Anthropologie catalogs and socially exploits culture; yet ironically, doesn’t pay the same countries they’ve fantasized about and profited off of for decades. Most recently, they were called out for profiling Black shoppers for thefts in their stores (see @diet_prada piece)

Free People, capitalizes on “femininity, courage, and spirit” — but do they champion the same values for the women making their garments? Or are they just co-opting a movement?

Demand that URBN and affiliated brands step up and #PAYUP


URBN performative

URBN performative

URBN performative

Join the Conversation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *