You have to give PETA one thing, they know how to make headlines. Sometimes, it’s for ridiculous requests like changing “bullpen” to “arm barn” to protect cows’ feelings. Other times, they take the time to harass those who hunt or promote hunting. It seems that no matter what the organization does, they go all-out to truly make a statement. The most recent entry in their long line of publicity stunts is a faux online storefront featuring items that appear to be made of human leather.
Human leather isn’t anything new. Long ago, bookbinders used human skin to bind important or arcane texts. By all reports, people make some of the softest leather on the planet. However, PETA isn’t going for that soft elegant leather look. Instead, their “Urban Outraged” page shows items that looked like they’re straight out of a horror film. Seriously, it’s like notorious grave robber Ed Gein, Leatherface from Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs opened an Etsy shop.
You can’t actually buy any of the “human leather” items from the store. However, PETA is advertising them like an actual clothing line. Check out their Instagram post below.
The post’s caption includes descriptions of each item. Then, they capped it off with a few words about the purposely shocking brand. “Designs that demand a second look, shockingly soft leather: this is Urban Outraged.
A Closer Look at PETA’s “Urban Outraged”
If you visit PETA’s Urban Outraged storefront you’ll see a long list of gruesome creations. For instance, they carry loafers, boots, skirts, weekend bags, belts, pants, and more. According to the site, each item is named for the person whose skin makes up the garment or bag. Additionally, each item comes with its own little story. In those stories, the organization does its best to lean on heavy-handed satire to get its desired effect.
For instance, take a look at the Richard Loafers. They’re the sixth image in the Instagram carousel above. On the site, PETA drives home its message by claiming that the leather used to make the loafers is soft and pliable. At the same time, they use the fact that the leather is already “antiqued” as a selling point. “Richard was already antiqued when taken away from his family and herded into a pen made for three but containing 15. Don’t worry – he had already lived a long, fulfilling life and was ready to sacrifice himself so that others could look their best.” Then, they talk a little about how “Richard” was brutalized before becoming loafers.
PETA hoped to create a thought-provoking campaign. However, a look at the comments on the above Instagram post shows that they failed. Most commenters find the “collection” to be in poor taste. Others think the Urban Outraged is hilarious. Additionally, there are several comments saying that they would wear some of the items.