Urban Outfitters Taken to Task for Faux 'Navajo' Products
By Allison Berry
A key issue is whether Urban Outfitters is describing the style of the product, or suggesting that it was actually made by Navajo artisans. Currently there are 23 products labeled as “Navajo” on the company's website, as well as 13 described as the more generic “tribal.” And the trend is not limited to Urban Outfitters: Forever 21 also has 6 “Navajo” products, and a whopping 113 that are “tribal.”
Urban Outfitters has not yet issued a public response to Brown's letter.
Urban Outfitters Under Fire for 'Navajo' Collection
By Christina Ng
Looram added that the company is dedicated to inspiring customers and interpreting trends.
Brown said that not only were the company's items offensive, but they may also be illegal.
On the popular Jezebel blog:
Urban Outfitters And The Navajo Nation: What Does The Law Say?
By Jenna Sauers
And neither is a piece of clothing. Fashion is not considered an "art" (nor is a clothing design, under current law, copyrightable in the U.S.). And mass-produced items such as those Urban Outfitters sells are not really "crafts" either. In Scafidi's view, the fact that the Navajo Nation took the step of trademarking the name "Navajo" offers the tribe a much higher level of protection. That puts "Navajo" on the same footing as trademarks like "Chanel" or "Burberry." And the Navajo Nation has already warned Urban Outfitters to cease an desist from using the tribe's trademarks on its goods.
"There is a trademark on 'Navajo' for clothing," says Scafidi. "It mentions specifically jeans, and tops, and shirts, and sweatshirts," along with more general categories like "sportswear." Not all of the products that Urban Outfitters is selling under the name "Navajo" are enumerated in the trademark, "but you could imagine that other similar items could fall into the 'confusingly similar' category," meaning that they would also be protected from infringement. Of course, in court, "Urban Outfitters could come back and say, 'Well, if you wanted that trademark to cover panties, then you should have listed panties.'" It would be up to a judge to decide.
Urban Outfitters’ “Navajo Hipster Panty” Is Just the Tip of the Racial Iceberg
By Jim Edwards
And who could forget American Apparel’s (APP) “conical Asian hat”—i.e. a rice paddy coolie hat—which was withdrawn from sale following an outcry earlier this summer?
For more on the subject, see Forever 21's Columbus Day Sale and Neo-Navajo Fashion Trend.
Below: Images from Urban Outfitters.