The retail store Old Navy is being slammed on social media for their controversial toddler t-shirt, which many are saying discourages aspiring artists.
The toddler t-shirt in question is white with the words “Young Aspiring Artist” written on it. While this may seem innocent enough, the word “artist” is crossed out, and beneath it reads either “astronaut” or “president.” Many social media users are questioning why Old Navy feels that the latter occupations are more important, or more ambitious, than the former. The hashtag #ArtIsACareerToo was created in response to the controversial t-shirt, and has been used thousands of times on Twitter.
— LasVegasPaco (@LasVegasPaco) December 31, 2015
The controversial artist t-shirt could previously be ordered on the San Francisco-based retailer’s “funny toddler T-shirts” page, at a price of only $9.94. However, since the extensive backlash the retail giant has received, the t-shirt has been pulled from the website. After discontinuing the design, Old Navy spokesperson Debbie Felix issued a statement regarding their decision.
“At Old Navy we take our responsibility to our customers seriously,” Felix said in an emailed statement, according to Artnet News. “We would never intentionally offend anyone, and we are sorry if that has been the case. Our toddler tees come in a variety of designs including tees that feature ballerinas, unicorns, trucks and dinosaurs and include phrases like, ‘Free Spirit.’ They are meant to appeal to a wide range of aspirations. With this particular tee, as a result of customer feedback, we have decided to discontinue the design and will work to remove the item from our stores.”
Iowa-based Raygun, the self-proclaimed “Greatest Store In The Universe,” and t-shirt maker, responded to the controversy earlier this week with a t-shirt of their own.
“The (Old Navy) story’s been getting some traction on social media,” Taylor Frame, director of stores and inventory for Raygun, said, according to KHOU. “The design that we came up with is our response to the backlash Old Navy has been receiving.”
Raygun’s owner, Mike Draper, came up with the t-shirt concept, encouraged by Facebook users who said he should print a t-shirt opposite of Old Navy’s. The company then created a shirt that reads “Young Aspiring President,” but the word “president” is marked out and replaced with “artist.”
“We thought we would respond to it in our way,” Frame said, adding that the t-shirt can be purchased on their website for only $20 and comes in sizes 2T-12T.
Check out what social media users were saying about Old Navy’s controversial toddler t-shirt below.
— Steve Ogden (@SteveOgdenArt) December 30, 2015
— Blair J. Campbell (@BlairJCampbell) December 31, 2015
— ashley taylor (@ashley24taylor) December 30, 2015
Just saw the #OldNavy shirts with the word “artist” crossed out. I wonder if they realize that without artists, they wouldn’t even exist.????
— BYNON (@bynonofficial) December 30, 2015
I’m an aspiring ARTIST and proud of it! #oldnavy
— Sakuems (@sakuems) December 30, 2015
— TVHS Dramatics (@TVHS_Drama) December 30, 2015
— krystina alabado (@KrystinaAlabado) December 30, 2015
What do you think about the Old Navy t-shirt? Did you find it offensive? Leave your comments below.
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