People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has made some bold choices in calling out animal rights abuse, but this one might hit close to home — literally. In late November 2021, the group launched a clothing store called urbanoutraged.com, which appeared to some readers to feature clothes made from human skin.
But these aren’t products made from real human skin — in fact, the site isn’t even a real store and was designed only to make a statement. The organization acknowledges that it is part of a campaign to pressure companies like Urban Outfitters and its associated brands to stop selling items that use animal products, like leather goods. Per PETA’s statement:
Human skin is “in.” That’s according to Urban Outraged, PETA’s new “store” featuring products made from human-derived leather. Built to appear like a real online shopping experience, its goal is to make visitors question why it’s deemed acceptable to use the skin of any living, feeling being for fashion. And yes, it’s as disturbing as it sounds.
Warning: Some of the images on the site and on the group’s Instagram page are graphic.
The faux website asks visitors questions like, “Why is it OK to kill a cow for leather?” and “Why is it OK to raise sheep just to shear off their wool?”
For its “Afterlife Collection,” the website said it turned deceased love ones’ skin into clothing:
Interested in preserving a loved one and being fashionable, all at the same time? We can take care of that for you. Simply tell us who you’d like to wear (or carry) next season and we’ll start the preparations.
Whether it’s a beloved grandparent or a treasured friend, you can leave all the arrangements to us. Nothing says vintage like the precious skin of your loved one transformed into a bespoke jacket, bag, or other item that you feel best suits your style while preserving their memory.
In a statement to USA Today PETA also said, “People are rightfully horrified by the idea of wearing human skin and the thought of it should make everyone’s stomach turn just as much as wearing the skin of a cow, goat, sheep, or any other animal.”
PETA’s purpose for this campaign is to raise awareness in a satirical way to generate outrage, and the company can’t legally use human skin to make products.
PETA. “Urban Outraged.” Urbanoutraged.Com, PETA, https://www.peta.org/action/urban-outraged/. Accessed 7 Dec. 2021.
PETA. You Can Help PETA Get Under Urban Outfitters’ Skin. https://www.peta.org/action/urban-outraged/. Accessed 7 Dec. 2021.
Ryu, Jenna. “PETA’s ‘human’ Leather Campaign Is Horrifying. But Is It Effective?” USA Today, 3 Dec. 2021, https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/health-wellness/2021/12/03/peta-human-leather-campaign-does-help-animal-rights-movement/8820012002/. Accessed 7 Dec. 2021.