In this week's edition of Blatantly Offensive Clothing That's Actually Sold In Stores And Purchased By Human Beings, Urban Outfitters pays homage to Native Americans by mass-producing products with gaudy interpretations of tribal designs and calling them "Navajo".
And even though on Monday — Columbus Day — Sasha Houston Brown wrote an open letter to Urban Outfitters CEO Glen T. Senk imploring the company to stop selling these items, and even though the internet has been in an uproar since, her request continues to go unheeded.
Of course, Urban Outfitters isn't unique in their exploitation of Native American culture in the name of fashion. But it's about time someone said something about the new heights this ridiculous "trend" is reaching. Brown shows how absurd it really is by simply listing the names of the products she came across on a recent visit to the store:
"All too often industries, sports teams and ignorant individuals legitimize racism under the guise of cultural 'appreciation'. There is nothing honorable or historically appreciative in selling items such as the Navajo Print Fabric Wrapped Flask, Peace Treaty Feather Necklace, Staring at Stars Skull Native Headdress T-shirt or the Navajo Hipster Panty. These and the dozens of other tacky products you are currently selling referencing Native America make a mockery of our identity and unique cultures."
And even though Brown pointed out that the sale of this stuff is actually illegal —
“The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-644) is a truth-in-advertising law that prohibits misrepresentation in marketing of Indian arts and crafts products within the United States. It is illegal to offer or display for sale, or sell any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is Indian produced, an Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian or Indian Tribe or Indian arts and crafts organization, resident within the United States. If a business violates the Act, it can face civil penalties or can be prosecuted and fined up to $1,000,000”.
The would-jump-over-a-bridge-if-you-told-them-to characters over at Urban Outfitters maintain that, "The Native American-inspired trend and specifically the term "Navajo" have been cycling through fashion, fine art and design for the last few years" and have no intention of pulling any of the Native American-inspired designs — not even the 24 items with the word "Navajo" in the product title.
Unlike those adorable "I'm allergic to algebra" and "I'm too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me" shirts, that Forever 21 and JCPenney, respectively, were cajoled into pulling from their stock, it looks like Urban Outfitters is going to need a bit more bad publicity. So c'mon internet! Rally! At the very least, do me a solid and do not buy the Navajo Print Fabric Wrapped Flask. That's just tacky.