Urban Outfitters is known for providing millennials with trendy — and occasionally controversial — fashions, but the store might have gotten a little more than it bargained for when it sold a T-shirt sporting a design that evoked a prominent Chicago gang. The shirt has since been pulled, but not without raising a few eyebrows.
The store recently discontinued its “Vanguard Pitchfork” shirt after Salon argued the design on the shirt resembled the symbol of the Gangster Disciples, a Chicago gang with close to an estimated 18,000 members. The gang’s symbol is a six-pointed star, identical to the Jewish Star of David, with two pitchforks pointed upward emanating from the center.
In a June editorial, The Chicago Tribune wrote, “Would Chicago be better off without a single member of the Gangster Disciples roaming free to intimidate and endanger their fellow citizens? Undoubtedly. Believed to be the city's biggest gang, the GDs have a long history of vicious criminality. They are believed to account for a significant fraction of Chicago homicides. Two alleged members have been charged in the fatal shooting of 15-year-old honor student Hadiya Pendleton. Chicago would be a far safer, more livable place without them.”
In an email to The Huffington Post, Crystal Carroll, Urban Outfitters’ public relations manager, wrote, "Urban Outfitters had no prior knowledge of this symbol's affiliation when we purchased the T-shirt from the designer. It was never meant to offend nor promote gang violence."