Urban Outfitters' Alcohol-Inspired Shirts: Harmful or Harmless? | Clean Plate Charlie | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida


Urban Outfitters' Alcohol-Inspired Shirts: Harmful or Harmless?

Carrying everything from cheap dorm rugs and lamps in animal prints and neon colors to books on how to play beer pong, it's no secret that Urban Outfitters caters to teens and college students.

Recently, the shop, which has come under fire in the past for selling T-shirts that have been deemed offensive by several ethnic groups, is now being chastised by several groups, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving, for selling T-shirts that promote drinking, according to an article in Yahoo Shine.

The shirts, available online and at the Urban Outfitters in Palm Beach Gardens (11701 Lake Victoria Gardens), come in different styles and sayings, including I Vote for Vodka; I Vote for Jack, Jim, and Jose; I Drink You're Cute; USA Drinking Team; and our favorite -- Misery Loves Alcohol.

A little disturbing are the comments on the company's shopping site, mostly from teen- or college-aged females, like the one from a young woman who identifies herself as under 18. She reviewed the I Vote for Vodka shirt, saying, "While selling booze to minors is illegal, selling an alcohol-branded shirt

to a teenager is not.

Does wearing a shirt that says I Vote for Vodka make a teen head to the nearest bar? According to a study from George Mason University, while alcohol marketing is effective in getting drinkers to

switch brands, it's less effective in getting nondrinkers to start


So is this really such a big deal after all? When I was a teen, my

father had a mattress-store franchise in Queens, New York. He would come

home with shirts printed with the phrase Hillside Bedding Official Mattress Tester on them and make me wear them as free advertising. I

don't think he even put two-and-two together that maybe his 15-year-old

daughter shouldn't take the subway wearing that shirt. Point is -- I

wore the damned thing for years and managed to not turn into a raging


Although these shirts may not be in the best taste, does wearing a

drinking shirt make you a drunk?  Are these shirts inappropriately

marketed to teens and college students (most of whom are still under 21),

or are they just a bit of harmless fun? 

We'd like to know your thoughts. Post a comment and let us know what you think about these drink-related shirts.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times, covering the restaurant and bar scene in South Florida. She has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat Street and Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Doss won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature on what it’s like to wait tables. In a previous life, she appeared off-Broadway and shook many a cocktail as a bartender at venues in South Florida and New York City. When she’s not writing, you can find Doss running some marathon then celebrating at the nearest watering hole.
Contact: Laine Doss

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