Exposed: Urban Outfitters – Do you REALLY know? | Awakened Aesthetic

This post was written by Lindsay G., editor of Broke & Beautiful and contributor to Awakened Aesthetic..

Image courtesy of Forbes

Do you know this man? Any ideas at all?

Good. You’re not supposed to, if he has his way. In case you’re in a curious mood, however, his name is Richard Hayne and he is the President and Founder of hipster and 20-something fashion mecca, Urban Outfitters.

What? How? But he’s… nothing like you expected, is he? Hm!

Alright, since we’re playing “introductions”, let’s try another one! Do you know this man?:

Image Courtesy of Drexel University

He’s a lovely, dapper looking fellow, now isn’t he? His name is Senator Rick Santorum. He’s a squishy, right-wing conservative from Pennsylvania. He enjoys spending his time with his wife and seven kids… Playing badminton, roasting turkeys and doing all he can to ensure that gay rights are a thing of the past.

Wait, wait, wait – back up?

Yes, Rick Santorum – while still serving on the Senate (1995 – 2007) – was not only hailed as a reliable ally of GWB, but is also infamous for his ability to compare ideas. Yes! He’s quite good. Here’s a quote where he makes one of his “best” comparisons, which fell on the ears of the AP:

“If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual [gay] sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything,” – Metro Weekly, Washington DC’s LGBT Newsagazine

Um, excuse me? Homosexuality equates to incest, polygamy, and adultery? Wow, son. That’s a bit rough. Oh wait, your remarks were “misleading” when printed? Do clarify.

“My discussion with the Associated Press was about the Supreme Court privacy case, the constitutional right to privacy in general, and in context of the impact on the family,” the statement read. “I am a firm believer that all are equal under the Constitution. My comments should not be misconstrued in any way as a statement on individual lifestyles.” – Metro Weekly

Ohhhhhh… Well, in that case… B.S., Santorum. Lest we not forget how you didn’t just compare, but equated the Catholic boy-fondling preists to a “basic homosexual relationship” [AP via USA Today]. It wasn’t child molestation because the preists weren’t having sex with boys, they “were having sexual relations with post-pubescent men”. Ah, we see the difference. No, really.

Santorum is also a comedian! Did you ever hear the one about… Oh, heck. Here it is:

“If we allow gay marriage, the next thing you know people will be marrying goldfish…”

ANYWAY. What do these two guys have in common? What does the Founder and President of a seemingly gay-friendly, youth-centric fashion retail store have to do with a homophobic, small minded, ex-Senator?

Richard Haynes, President/Founder of Urban Outfitters, owner of Anthropologie and Free People contributed over $13,000 to Santorum’s campaign and Political Action Committee over the years. (Pink News, Philadelphia Weekly)

Perhaps this explains the mysterious disappearance of pro-same-sex-marriage t-shirts off the Los Angeles Urban Outfitters shelves? Hmmm…

Imagine a scene, if you will…

You run into your local Urban Outfitters, Free People or Anthropologie and scope out the newest arrivals. Oh! That jacket you’ve been longing for sits on the wall, its perfect fabric drifting slightly as a result of the A/C unit above. You walk towards it, take it down from its rack, and hold it close look at the size. It’s the last one in the store, and sold out online… This is your one chance. You lift the tag – perfect, you whisper. You try it on, it fits like a glove. You rush to the cash register and throw your change down on the counter, much to the dismay of the 19 year old kid behind the counter, purple-haired and full of facial piercings. You don’t care – the jacket is yours. You run home to covet the jacket while the cashier delicately places the money in the register while muttering incoherantly about what a total bitch you are.

He ends up taking a fraction of your jacket’s sale price in his paycheck. Another fraction goes to the store’s rent. Another to the manager (that bitch is so overpaid…). Another to the garment makers in whatever random foreign countries the jacket is made in (don’t even get me started…). The rest trickles up to our dear friend Richard Hayne. Where does it go after that? Ricky decides, my friends, and we all know he has a penchant for gay-hating senators…

Let me tell you something: It takes balls to vote with your dollar. Trust me, I’m a budget fashion blogger. Don’t laugh! I take deals where I can get them, and guess what – Urban Outfitters has killer sales. Not to mention some really, really great clothes. Hello! Silence & Noise? Kimchi Blue? Miss Sixty? I’d live in this stuff, if I could. But I don’t. Why?

Because I don’t want my dollars and cents (what few I have) to end up in the hands of anti-evolving, ignorant, bigot bastards like Rick Santorum.

Sure, he might not be in office anymore, but give any web-savvy activist 15 seconds and they’ll hand you a printed list of the new Rick Santorums who are in office and can affect our ability to change.

You can get your Jeffrey Campbell shoes elsewhere, ladies. You can find a sweet leather jacket in an independent boutique. You will survive without the aid of Free People’s sundresses.

Be smart, save the fashion community and help give relevance to it by caring about social issues like this one.

Boycott Free People, Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters.

Know where your money is going.

**A note from Jennifer: Now that you know the truth, click here to find some alternatives to Urban Outfitters. If you’re still tempted to shop the (admittedly gorgeous) designs that Urban Outfitters and its companies create, this post about Free People’s thievery and this one about Urban Outfitters’ long-standing pattern of stealing artists’ work should give you some more incentive not to.

Lindsay has a pretty strong opinion about Urban Outfitters, but guess who else has been linked to anti-gay political funding?  Target.  Read about their support of anti-gay legislation here.

Wondering if there’s more to American Apparel than assless tights?  Find out here: The Truth About American Apparel.

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187 Responses to “Exposed: Urban Outfitters – Do you REALLY know?”

  1. Xavier Perez says:

    Exposed: Urban Outfitters – Do you REALLY know? | Awakened Aesthetic

  2. Valonda says:

    @boniver Oh, you do @blobtower? That bums me out because of this

  3. Chris A says:

    In my town, asheville, where we like our civil (including gender) rights and our locally owned businesses… most of us were already furious at urban for setting up camp in downtown, surrounded by awesome local clothing stores. It’s no secret; you could walk around near the urban store and read the spraypaint to understand how we feel about it.

    This article is on another level though. Had to check this post out, its been going around word of mouth and people aren’t too happy.

    This is NOT about political theory or republican/democrat for me. A relatively massive portion of our community is homosexual and real Ashevillains love them as human beings and feel strongly about any person’s freedom of gender. I don’t want my money supporting restrictions against sacred human freedoms, period. It IS that simple.

    Honestly, your post is one more reason for me and my friends to point at every person sporting an urban logo and say “thanks, asshole.” Which we do, and will continue to do, no lie.

    I wanna see a protest though… Ashevilles perfect…

    • Chris, if you start planning, we will DEFINITELY promote any (legal) action you take! We’d love to see more people in the US boycotting and protesting, actively, the stores that screw them over.

      • Shaughn T says:

        Being a native North Carolinian, I thought the same would be true. However, when visiting and speaking with the local boutique owners they were actually happy as the chain has acted as an anchor store, bringing huge traffic and thus helping the retail market in downtown Asheville. I imagine the graffiti is from UNCA kids who’ve run out of room for stickers on their BMW station wagon.

  4. @Katievizzzle @amorby @RobinFults read this is you like urban outfitters or anthropologie.. it might change your mind.

  5. Matt Thomas says:

    @popgazm Yes, the CEO supports anti-gay causes. See, e.g., @MileyCyrus, of all people, hipped me to his nastiness.


  7. Nicole says:

    @NaNaNaNaNatalia Yup! And by shopping at UO customers also fund conservative politicians who are anti-gay:

  8. And they donate money to anti-gay campaigns. I think I'm done shopping there.

  9. although admittedly this took me by suprise, it turns out old man got style!

  10. stupidpeopleannoyme says:

    get over it fags. business owners have beliefs too and they can do whatever they want with their money even if it’s anti-gay “stuff”. anybody ever think it might be for the best if guys weren’t sticking weiners in each others butts and wherever else after that? there are too many little bitches these days…

    • Lindsay (@Lindsography ) says:


    • Sarah (@sarahamcmahon ) says:

      Wow, seriously? People no matter what they do in their private lives unless hurting others deserve respect and freedom of rights. Calling people “fags” and saying it’s alright to support hatred is unacceptable. You need to re-evaluate why you give two shits about what someone does sexually as long as they aren’t hurting children, animals, or other non-consenting adults. I think people totally have the right to be outraged by a clothing company that pretends to cater to a generation that’s mostly open to gay and lesbian rights, all the while lying in the background. You’re part of the problem, and I’m sorry to be so blunt, but your comments leave no regard for kind words. Why don’t you think a little more before you go judging others. And this comes from a straight woman who believes all people deserve equality!

    • jackee jensen and julia mason says:

      You are an idiot, no seriously, it is people like you that the world could seriously do without. I am a HETEROSEXUAL white twenty-one year old blonde girl, and if I ever saw you I would beat the living shit out of you. No joke. and I wouldn’t stop. I don’t ever want to hear you or people like you talk ever again. Please shut your mouth forever. YOU are the ultimate little bitch. Bitch. Seriously though, fuck you.

      and here, my friend has something to say to you too…

      Hey you close-minded hate monger!! You have no place judging the lifes and loves of others. Do you even ever pick up a book or leave your small little sect of the world? do you see what I did there? I called your life a sect.. because you are a stupid heretic like most religious sects… I’m surprised you even put your face next to your comment, you should be embarrassed. On the world stage, you are the lost child that screams and stomps in the middle of the stage because you have no FUCKING CLUE what is going on. Educate yourself, or forever wallow in your ridiculous ideas of how the world is and who the people in it are. A lot of the time I believe that GAY people are much stronger and more self-aware than anyone else because they grow up having to fight off misplaced hatred from people like you and grow up having to stand up for who they are and the lives they want to live. That is a WHOLE lot more than you can ever claim.
      a little piece of advice, get your nose out of everyone else’s private business and take a look at yourself.. I bet you are a lost, shallow person who’s really just drifting along without any purpose or character development.

      Most of all… we just feel sorry for you.. you are an infinitesimal little scrap of shit on the sidewalk compared to any of the gay friends I have. fuck you.

  11. @benvyle Urban Outfitters supports anti-gay politicians. You shouldn't support them:

  12. Personal shopping (@stylemade07 ) says:

    I think every person has a right to donate, through themselves or their companies, to whatever causes they believe in.

  13. Exposed: Urban Outfitters – Do you REALLY know? | Awakened Aesthetic

  14. Wardrobe stylist (@stylemade07 ) says:

    I also think that consumers have a right to know where their money is going – and since UO’s money is going to political figures that are huge opponents..

  15. [...] Exposed: Urban Outfitters – Do you REALLY know? (31 votes)Ethical Designer Profile: Five Bamboo (11 votes)Exposed: Hershey's Chocolate (7 [...]

  16. Alex says:

    Ummm where are your sources? I have a hard time believing your words when they are only put in a “imagines scene”. give me evidence and i will believe you, but until then, i might just do a shopping spree at Urban Outfitters :D

  17. Bannef says:

    Glen Senk, the CEO of Urban Outfitters, is openly gay, and from what I’ve seen he’s very proud of that fact. There are many reasons to support a politician, and while I would never give my money to that gentleman in particular, I don’t begrudge the president of this company doing so. And I assure you, it is not easy for an openly gay man to rise to the position of CEO. If Richard Hayne had a problem with him I’m not sure he would have risen that high, and if Glen Senk thought Hayne had a problem with him, I’m not sure he would have continued in this company.

  18. [...] Exposed: Urban Outfitters – Do you REALLY know? (32 votes)Ethical Designer Profile: Five Bamboo (11 votes)Exposed: Hershey's Chocolate (8 [...]

  19. gabi says:

    while i’m not a fan of Santorum, i agree that even business owners have beliefs and may support whom and what they choose. what i have more of a problem with is the outsourcing to countries in asia yet charging up the ass for poorly made products that were probably manufactured in sweatshops.

  20. Kailene says:

    Everyone has rights to their own beliefs- people wouldn’t freak out if it was the opposite, so what’s the big deal? I’m not a supporter of gay rights, but I have gay friends and respect their beliefs- they know and respect mine and we’re still friends.

    I just get annoyed when people want others to “accept everyone” but don’t accept those that have different beliefs than theirs.

  21. Ryan says:

    Would love to know about some good places to shop online for guys. Really like your blog, been dreaming of doing something similar on a local level out here…just distracted easily, but love thifting and thriving, doing more with less.

  22. sillyewe says:

    You can contact Richard Hayne at: and communicate your frustration :-)

  23. [...] turn owned by a staunch far-right conservative.  While we don’t have a problem with people believing what they want and donating to who they want, we do have a problem with those same people targeting one demographic (pro-gay, pro-choice [...]

  24. James says:

    While I agree that he made a (very) poor mistake donating to that bigot asshole, Dick Hayne is actually one of the nicest people I have met, frequently buying the entire company lunch. He is in no way a homophobe/anti-gay. The donations that he made were almost ten years ago and based on other political views. During my tenure as his receptionist he was hounded by their campaign people and when I would ask if he wanted the call he would wave dismissively and give me the gag face. Basically I just don’t want a good man to get a bad rap for a blind mistake… and besides there are plenty of other reasons to hate URBN…

  25. Rachel (@rlov11 ) says:

    I agree that homosexuals deserve the same rights as any other humans. But come on. Rich people have the right to vote just as much as anyone else. And yes, rich people often donate money to a candidates campaign. It’s not criminal and it’s not even unheard of? Is this article suggesting that Richard Hayes shouldn’t be allowed to support whomever he wants in an election? Because that would be inequality. Just because you don’t agree with an opinion (which I would like to remind you, I also disagree with.) doesn’t mean he’s not allowed to have one.

  26. jamie says:

    13,000 really isn’t a lot of money to donate under the US system where there is no limit. People literally donate millions of dollars to campaigns. I assume the owner of these chains has millions that he could donate, yet he only donated 13,000 to douchy Rick Santorum. Maybe he donated it for a reason other than because he hates gay people; have you considered that before writing this blog? Please look at all the evidence – not just one item that could not even begin to tell the entire story.

    Further, Urban recently had a catalogue with two women kissing – does that seem anti-gay to you?

  27. [...] that claim to be “about that life” aren’t authentic in their style because they shop at Urban Outfitter, a company owned by the very people Hipsters claim not to be like. It is time for the real Hipsters [...]

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