Throw out your art supplies and dive into into engineering and policymaking instead because being an artist isn’t worth it — or at least that’s what Old Navy suggests with a line of T-shirts.
The clothing retailer is facing backlash for white shirts on its website emblazoned with the slogan, “YOUNG ASPIRING ARTIST” except the word “ARTIST” receives a colorful strikethrough (is that a brushstroke?), replaced with the apparently more respectable careers of astronaut and president. The shirts, which each carry a price tag of $9.94, are meant for toddlers, sending the message that one should just quash any creative drive as early as possible. Halt the craft projects; kill the finger painting. Your kids are much better off with “technical training that can lead them to an honorable career.”
Unsurprisingly, a lot of people are furious, with many quick to point out that the clothing giant itself relies on artists and designers to envision their products. Old Navy has yet to issue a public response, and while the shirt remains on its website as of press time, the link to its product page now leads to that of another graphic tee. The brand also sells a shirt that reads “Imagination is Everything” — just funnel that creative power into anything but art-making, I guess.
But at the end of the day, never forget:
UPDATED, 4:22 pm ET: Old Navy has pulled the product from its website, and spokesperson Debbie Felix issued the following statement:
At Old Navy we take our responsibility to our customers seriously. 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.