October 25, 2013

The fugly truth


Jezebel’s writers pose with the book Urban Outfitters refuses to carry.

The New York Daily News has reported that retail chain Urban Outfitters has made the decision not to stock a new title, The Book of Jezebel. This wouldn’t normally make news, but the paper writes, “UO bosses say their ban is due to frequent negative coverage about the company on Jezebel.com.”

There is presumably a fairly large overlap between the readers of the Gawker Media website, billed as “Celebrity, Sex, Fashion For Women. Without Airbrushing.” and the customer base of Urban Outfitters. But Urban Outfitters has long been a favorite target for writers at the site. Perhaps their most sustained criticism of the ubiquitous chain has been for their appropriation of Navajo symbols for “fashion.” Jezebel called UO out here, here, and here.  But that hasn’t been the only coverage; other stories Jezebel has posted about the chain have included What’s Wrong With Urban Outfitters?, Can Urban Outfitters Save Itself? Maybe, and Urban Outfitters Really Doesn’t Want You To Know About Its Bed Bug Problem.

Jezebel is no more flattering when it comes to the clothing, for example:  5 Fugly Things Urban Outfitters Wants You to Wear This Spring, Everything Old is Fug Again, What Clothes? Urban Outfitters Presents Naked & Half-Naked Chicks, and 5 Hideous Things Urban Outfitters Wants You to Wear This Summer.

So, uh, fair to say Jezebel and Urban Outfitters aren’t friends. It shouldn’t be too surprising that the store would choose not to stock the book, but the Daily News claims that Jezebel, “part of the Gawker media empire, had appeared to be a shoe-in at the store with its new book…and ‘The publisher was confident Urban Outfitters would carry it. It is a book their customers would buy.’”

The Daily News writes,

The latest book by the site covers a wide range of subjects in the feminist-friendly blog, ranging from being pro-choice to the obsession with pop-culture characters. It was feted with a party at a SoHo loft Tuesday, where Gawker overlord Nick Denton shmoozed with other New York media darlings.

“Urban Outfitters should realize that criticism from the women of Jezebel is a rite of passage,” Denton told Confidenti@l.

It’s safe to assume that when Jezebel decides to address the kerfuffle on the site, they won’t mince words.


Julia Fleischaker is the director of marketing and publicity at Melville House.