Being Anti-Trump Is Helping Urban Outfitters, While American Apparel Has Partnered With Him

It's fashionable — and lucrative — to be anti-Trump. (Photo: Getty Images)
It’s fashionable — and lucrative — to be anti-Trump. (Photo: Getty Images)

Urban Outfitters has struck gold in a very unlikely way: by selling merchandise with the message “IDK Not Trump Tho.” The clothing chain’s target demographic, millennials, is most likely responsible for the slogan’s success, according to Fortune.

Comedian Dave Ross turned a joke into a lucrative licensing deal. (Photo courtesy of
Comedian Dave Ross turned a joke into a lucrative licensing deal. (Photo courtesy of

The way the company adopted the snarky slogan is just as surprising. Apparently, comedian Dave Ross brainstormed the political dig and decided to have it printed on a custom campaign sign that he planted in his front yard. He tweeted a picture of the sign, and it almost immediately went viral, so he launched a website,, where he peddled anti-Donald-Trump merchandise emblazoned with the shorthand joke. The slogan made its way to Urban Outfitters, and a licensing deal was struck.

After the first 300 shirts sold in less than 24 hours, the licensing company, ShopperTrak, and the retailer realized they would be enjoying one of the most successful designs they’ve collaborated on to date, according to Ross, who’s (of course) also profiting from the deal. ShopperTrak spokesperson Jennifer Braner confirmed that this kind of runaway success is rare for a company like Urban Outfitters. “It is rare for major retailers to be political, let alone in such a divisive manner. Most simply showcase their levels of patriotism at relevant times during the year,” she said.

Meanwhile, clothing company American Apparel has partnered with Trump himself to produce T-shirts for the mogul turned politician’s campaign. As Fashionista pointed out, the pairing with the company, whose clothes are made in the U.S., may sound appropriate — as Trump’s campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again” — but upon closer inspection, it’s actually contradictory, considering the company has participated in a gay pride campaign and Trump is against gay marriage.

Something the two do have in common, though, is a propensity for controversies involving immigrants. As the New York Times reported, American Apparel was forced for fire 1,800 immigrant workers in 2009 who were unable to prove that they were legally allowed to work in the U.S. The company has atoned for the firings by getting involved in human rights activism. But a cornerstone of the GOP presidential nominee’s campaign is building a wall on the Mexican-American border to ostensibly keep immigrants out of the country — Mexicans he has accused of being drug dealers, criminals, and rapists.

Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton, has the support of a clothing designer when it comes to her campaign merchandise. The presumptive Democratic nominee sells a T-shirt designed by Marc Jacobs on her website. The design is reminiscent of Shepard Fairey’s now-famous “Hope” poster, which he designed for the Barack Obama campaign. The top is modeled on Clinton’s website by a young woman — the same customer Urban Outfitters sells its trendy tee to.

Designer Vivienne Westwood has made a name for herself designing political tees that promote social causes, from “Climate Revolution” to “I Am Not a Terrorist.” And simple black-and-white tops from the Repeal Project, which promote and raise money for abortion rights, have been a smashing success in Ireland, where they sold out within an hour of going on sale.

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