A new online store called Urban Outraged has arrived on the fashion scene – or so it seems at first glance. The brand is part of a guerrilla marketing campaign by animal rights charity PETA US. Fronting as a company selling clothing made from human skin, Urban Outraged takes aim at Urban Outfitters for still using animal leather and wool in its designs.
The Urban Outrage online “store” allows users to peruse handbags, pants, jackets, shoes, dresses, belts, and skirts, as well as skincare and dog collars. The website is made to look as realistic as possible, with links to shipping and delivery pages, job opportunities, and gift cards. But a closer look reveals that the “products” (which are not actually purchasable) are made with faux human body parts, including teeth, faces, and oozing blood.
The site also advertises an Afterlife Collection, which claims to “turn your loved one’s skin into a handmade item for you to cherish.” It includes step-by-step descriptions of the “leathering process.”
There are even fake customer reviews: “I’m not really a boot person, but I’m glad Meg was, because these are the best boots I’ve ever worn,” one reads.
‘A living being is a living being’
But once the user engages in the content, the campaign takes a(n even darker) turn as a secret webpage is unlocked.
“When it comes to ripping off skin, a living being is a living being,” the hidden site states.
“If you own animal-derived materials like wool, leather, alpaca, cashmere, mohair, down, or silk, you’ve bought into barbaric industries involving violent practices that would be considered cruel and unusual were they performed on humans,” it adds.
The secret site contains images of distressed and decapitated animals within the fashion industry, as well as descriptors of the methods used.
“Animals are not fabric, and their skin is not ours for the taking,” commented PETA Director Elisa Allen. “Urban Outraged by PETA US challenges shoppers to see the individual behind every bit of animal skin and leave those products on the shelves.”
The website’s call to action encourages people to sign a petition urging Urban Outfitters to ditch animal-derived products for good. So far, it has garnered nearly 130,000 signatures.