Clothing chain Old Navy apparently thinks artists are unnecessary. Twitter users have gone berserk over a new T-shirt design for children that reads “young aspiring artist” but has the word “artist” crossed out, replaced with the word “astronaut” or “president.”
You can find one of the tees at the San Francisco-based retailer’s “funny toddler T-shirts” page, priced at $9.94. Not so funny, Old Navy!
UPDATE: Old Navy has discontinued the design. Here’s an e-mail from Debbie Felix, an Old Navy spokesperson:
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.
Artist Steve Ogden “fixed” the offending tees, replacing the design with “young aspiring Old Navy exec,” with the final three words crossed out. The artist has written in “artist” and “human” as preferable goals.
It’s an ironic coincidence that president is one of the jobs indicated as worth aspiring to in favor of artistic pursuits.
None other than President Barack Obama learned not to disparage arts careers when he quipped in 2014, “A lot of young people no longer see the trades and skilled manufacturing as a viable career, but I promise you, folks can make a lot more potentially with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree.” He quickly apologized.
Old Navy has gotten into trouble before. The company was targeted in 2014 with a change.org petition alleging sexism and size discrimination for charging more for plus-size women’s jeans while charging the same price for men’s jeans of all sizes. Earlier this year, psychologists said that the company’s “boyfriend” style jeans for young children and babies inappropriately sexualized young women.Follow artnet News on Facebook.