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Preppy t-shirts mocking ‘Occupy’ movement cater to 1%

Preppy clothing company Vineyard Vines recently sent the Internet buzzing when bloggers discovered the company’s ‘occupy’ themed t-shirt.

Featuring a signature pink whale over the word ‘occupy’ on the front pocket, the back of the $35 t-shirt shows a beach-goer resting in a tent on the beach. Apparently mocking of the Occupy movement, the beach is filled with signs reading “More ice for the cooler!” “More cheeseburgers” and “More time on the water!” At the bottom it reads “Every day should feel this good” with another whale cameo.

The Gloss is no fan of these t-shirts, saying that the Occupy Wall Street movement addressing “real and serious” issues: “poverty, lack of jobs, lack of access to healthcare, and a lack of proper safeguards against investment banks screwing up the economy, to name a few. People are actually dying because of some of these things.”

Martha’s Vineyard -based Vineyard Vines has long been a favorite of the wealthier class searching for the good life. Making light of the movement through products like this shirt “seems like rubbing it in unnecessarily. A “let them eat cake” moment, if you will.”

Finally commenting on the backlash, Vineyard Vines said the company was “intrigued by the sudden burst of interest” as the shirt has been available for “a while.” Co-founders and brothers Shep and Ian Murphy sent a statement in to The Washington Post:

We left our corporate jobs in Manhattan to pursue the American Dream. With a lot of hard work and perseverance, our business continues to grow and we feel grateful everyday to our employees and loyal customers.

Everyone who knows us knows us [sic] we’d rather be on the beach than behind our desks, hence the inspiration for our “Occupy” design. As businessmen, we understand the severity of the economic climate and its impact on the industry. However, by nature we are lighthearted and never take ourselves too seriously.

While the founders were making the move in accordance with their company culture, perhaps it wasn’t the best way to bring in new customers. The shirt is no longer live on the company’s site, but images can be seen at Stylite.

What are your thoughts on the decision to sell or pull the shirt? If you’ve shopped at Vineyard Vines before, does this impact your customer loyalty?

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Categories: Economy