Social Media Leads Retail Company Urban Outfitters On Its ‘HBCU’ Inspired Clothing Collection
Urban Outfitters recently unveiled its Historically black college and university– capsule collection inspired by Alife X Champion. While the brand’s intentions may have been pure, people on Twitter – especially blacks – were expressing anything but pride.
“Good Morning America” reported that the collection was in partnership with the Collegiate Licensing Company. The line which featured the names of prestigious schools such as Howard and Hampton University printed on gray sweatshirts was inspired by the cultural vibes of HBCU homecoming and street wear. According to Alife’s official Instagram page, the company is also donating 5% of all February profits to the United Negro College Fund and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
However, critics frowned on the line’s design and presentation, especially its $ 89 price tag and low donation percentage. “Urban Outfitters has an HBCU clothing line but doesn’t give money to students or colleges? and charge $ 90 for that as well? One Twitter user expressed. They added, “Lol, I’ll take the $ 40- $ 60 hoodies from the bookstore with respect.”
Another person commented: “Issa HARD NO for me. @UrbanOutfitters If you want to “celebrate” HBCUs, you need to allow black graduate / HBCU-owned merchandise companies to conserve space in your stores (online, brick and mortar) at a great price. Otherwise, it’s just for-profit performative pimping.
“You can just donate $ 89 to your HBCU instead of buying those basic, insulting @UrbanOutfitters and @ALIFENEWYORK hoodies,” suggested a third person. “Smh and AUDACITY to not even include the 1st HBCU @CheyneyUniv.”
“What’s most upsetting about the Urban Outfitters HBCU collection is that it was designed by a team of HBCU smh graduates,” wrote a fourth.
And yes, despite the backlash the clothing line received, the team was made up of HBCU graduates including director Amandla Baraka, photographer Michael Grant, stylist Pamela Shepard Hill, and creative director Treis Hill.
“I am delighted that this collection, which celebrates all the culture, community and connectivity that comes with an HBCU experience, is presented by Urban Outfitters and Champion,” Hill said in a statement obtained by “GMA.”
In addition to the Alfie X Champion HBCU capsule collection, Urban Outfitters also announced their new initiative, “UO Summer Class ’21”. As part of this program, five students from HBCUs across the country would be invited to participate in an extension of the company’s 10-week paid internship program. They would receive one-on-one mentorship with leaders within the Urban Outfitters workforce throughout the summer. The program is scheduled to launch in the spring.