Urban Outfitters misappropriates military culture for crass profiteering

Jack Murphy
February 04, 2020 - 11:38 am
Urban Outfitters

Photo by Seaman Apprentice Zachary Guth


Trendy apparel shop Urban Outfitters is now hawking what appears to be military surplus Navy coveralls. This DRMO special is retailing at $120 on the company's website.

The Military Times first spotted this cultural and fashion faux pas, wryly noting that "Urban Outfitters consumers can be forged by a sea of terrible fashion decisions while wearing what the store has labeled the 'Vintage US Navy Coverall.'"

While we cannot advocate admonishing day laborers wearing surplus fatigues that we spot on their way home from work, this brings up the issue of so-called cultural appropriation. After all, who could forget the famous 2018 meme which asserted that white kids shouldn't wear traditional Chinese garb.

Not to throw a shoe at any yuppie spawn in Portland or Brooklyn appropriating my military service in service of bad fashion, but there is a certain amount of chutzpah in selling surplus Navy coveralls as vintage. I can see the Hannah Baker look-alikes pawing through the hangers, looking for their correct size, forty bracelets on each of their wrists. I'd walk up and say something to her, but I was in the Army so we're already reaching the limits of my moral outrage. 

So no, I'm not going to lambast you millennials for buying this stuff with your parent's money. I'm not going to yell at you that I want my cargo pockets, cool camo patterns, and even high and tight haircuts that were never seen outside of Ranger battalion or a mid-90's industrial band back. I won't even tell you that my culture is NOT your prom dress. What I will tell you, is that if you need something to wear when you paint your apartment this weekend, you can get yourself some vintage Navy coveralls on eBay for 16 bucks

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Reach Jack Murphy: jack@connectingvets.com or @JackMurphyRGR.