Surprise! Urban Outfitters is embroiled in another controversy. A lingerie photo on Urban's website has been banned by England's advertising regulator after receiving criticism for promoting the "thigh gap."
On December 31, the U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ordered the ad to be removed after it received a complaint that the "irresponsible and harmful" photo could be sending out a poor body image message, and could therefore be encouraging eating disorders.
The photo shows a skinny model showing off a pair of maroon underwear. But the image also showed the thin model's body lower body and a substantial gap between her legs.
"We considered that the model was very thin, and noted, in particular, that there was a significant gap between the model's thighs, and that her thighs and knees were a similar width," said the ASA in the ruling. "We understood that Urban Outfitters' target market was young people and considered that using a noticeably underweight model was likely to impress upon that audience that the image was representative of the people who might wear Urban Outfitters' clothing, and as being something to aspire to. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible."
Urban Outfitters' response was that the model was healthy. The model has a tall and slim figure with a waist of 23.5 inches.
But while the model is not "underweight," Urban may be missing the bigger picture of the message it may send it its consumers. To many, the model looks unhealthy. Maybe these weren't the best angles to use.
Urban Outfitters is no stranger to being called out for body image controversy. It received criticism for selling an "Eat Less" V-neck. The retailer also showed poor taste when it came out with a "Kent State University" sweatshirt with faux blood splatter.