Last weekend, a reader alleged that Urban Outfitters (UO) ripped off his Black Flag-inspired Four Loko T-shirt design that he had printed and sold online last fall. But a senior PR manager at the UO home office in Philadelphia told us that UO did not design, provide inspiration for, or manufacture the T-shirt in question, and further explained to us how UO handles situations where one of their vendors are called into question: "We are very explicit with all vendors that our brand supports artists and their creativity and we will not tolerate anyone that copies or steals ideas."
The spokeswoman told us that Urban Outfitters has a graphic tee buyer who purchases the products from one of their many vendors:
It is typical practice for us to get designs from vendors. The vast majority of our t-shirts come from national brands, independent designers, and licensed vendors. Creative due diligence between our internal buying teams and external vendors is something we continue to strive for. We are very explicit with all vendors that our brand supports artists and their creativity and we will not tolerate anyone that copies or steals ideas. We continue to focus as much energy as we can to this ongoing task in order to prevent instances such as the Four Loko t-shirt you have highlighted from slipping through the cracks.
In this case, the Four Loko one came from the vendor Mighty Fine. The spokeswoman told us that they had reached out to them to apprise them of the situation, noting they've "had a healthy relationship with them to date." We have also emailed Mighty Fine for comment on the matter.