So-Called Navajo Products Vanish from Urban Outfitters Website
Well... "vanish" isn't the right word. But you won't find them by searching.
Urban Outfitters has been taking heat from the Native American community for offering various "Navajo" items that were not endorsed by the Navajo Nation. Earlier this year, the Navajo Nation, which owns various trademarks on the word "Navajo," sent a cease and desist letter to Urban Outfitters (some of which you can read in this blog post from Native Appropriations).
Nine days ago, Sasha Houston Brown's "Open Letter to Urban Outfitters on Columbus Day" turned up the heat on Urban Outfitters, rallying bloggers to the cause and attracting mainstream media attention.
Company public relations director Ed Looram stated that "The Native American-inspired trend and specifically the term 'Navajo' have been cycling thru fashion, fine art and design for the last few years. We currently have no plans to modify or discontinue any of these products."
By Friday, the clamor seemed to have peaked, leaving us wondering "What’s Next for the Urban Outfitters Navajo Case?"
Nothing, it seemed. But today, a search on the Urban Outfitters site for "Navajo" returns no results.
Last week, the most egregious example of unwanted and possibly illegal Navajo branding was this:
It is now this:
The "Navajo Print Fabric Wrapped Flask" is now the "Printed Fabric Wrapped Flask." The "Navajo Sock" is now the "Printed Sock."
Same products, different names. For the Navajo, Sasha Houston Brown, and others who made their feelings known, the simple Printed Hipster Panty might also be called the Righteous Undergarment of Cultural Victory.
The war isn't over (indeed, Sasha objected to the products themselves, not just their names), but a battle has been won.