Copy Cat

Usually I try to stick to things on this blog that are good, interesting, exciting, or mysterious because I'd like to remain critical but optimistic about life and the world. But really, what possibly nice thing could I possibly say about this?

You know, it's not really like we're surpised over here. Urban Outfitters has long been known to rip off pretty much anything that could be slung across the body, specifically things that started off as handmade, artisan or one of a kind. They are not exactly a high brow sort of a company, if you know what I mean, with intelligent, original designs or timeless integrity. Fast Cheap and Out of Control could be their subtitle if only it were written in three dimensional block lettering ripped from vintage t-shirts and strung up on a leather braid.

In these parts, as too many of us know, everyone works for Urban. And Urban isn't short for the city of Philadelphia. Urban is code for "i've sold out, but please don't hate me! i just need a job, you know? and they are pretty cool and i've all but sold my soul but aren't these boots fierce? Got a sec? Cuz I'd love to tell you how horrific it is to actually work here." Between free people, anthropologie and urban outfitters, the retail giant has devoured entire yuppie enclaves by offering jobs and health insurance.

Apparently they've got those kids gripped pretty tight for the next new trend and someone thought they'd take the easy road and push an idea that already has a pretty solid following among the good looking kids of Philadelphia. I mean, really, why not sell a cheap knock off version of the hometown's messsenger bag?

The hardware in their strap, the placement of their buckles, and the addition of a reinforced base are nearly identical. We know that R.E.Load stands for more than great bags and UO cannot pirate our trademark spirit and personality. In the descriptive blurb alongside the cheap imitation reads the cleverly disguised word "Imported." There is no label proudly displayed. If you look REALLY closely, you can almost see the tail between their legs. Shameful.


  1. wow, the view from up on your high horse must have distorted your perception that both bags look nothing alike, other then the fact that they're messenger bags. are you saying you invented and designed the messenger bag? for real? what a lazy attack on urban outfitters, the whole thing stinks of sour grapes.

  2. your bag looks nothing like the urban bag, it is just a messenger. you going to clam chrome knocked you off also? or Manhattan portage who has been around longer then you guys. and why were you shopping on urban's web site anyways?

  3. i actually prefer the urban bag over the reload bag ... maybe it's because i prefer to drive a car and like girls with shaved armpits. way to be named of the worst metallica record.

  4. ...but wouldn't that cheap imported strap chafe her shaven armpits while she's driving to the mall?
    seriously though, i have to agree with Mary's tirade. (Harsh, but all-too-true). Urban flat out rips off others' creativity. It's easier than having to come up with a new idea that another company could potentially rip off. i It's also a lot easier to drop an idea when it doesn't sell if little to no time was put into it. And if it isn't bad enough to steal a product that someone else put years and years of effort into, Urban's employment practices are downright despicable. Aside from outsourcing pretty much everything to reprehensibly exploitative foreign labor, in Philadelphia they prey on young creative-types in need of direction and relief from insane student loans, and then work them into complete submission and dependency. Yeah, everyone needs a job, and I would never hold it against anybody for taking advantage of and money away from a sleazy corporation such as UO (or Dick Hayne himself). But to defend such a company and their practices is just fucking dumb.

  5. did you write this on your organic computer? i'm pretty sure it was manufactured in the same way the 99% percent of the things you use, own or operate, even your bike, the rubber the wheels are made from, the busses and subways your ride, were all produced in in some awful third world country. last time i checked, reload wasn't fucking whole foods. i'm sure somethings manufactured there were probably produced in the same factories UO uses. don't kind yourselves. ideally, you'd like to see a company like UO produce all of it's items cruelty free, domestically, organincally. if that happens, you will be NO competition, you might as well shudder the doors now, because something like that happening would completly obliterate you from the marketplace. you would not be able to survive competing against them and their resources. so, stop bitching about BIG BAD corporations. you fill the niche they don't. be glad they don't do things "your way". you'd be out of a job.

  6. I FARTED.....DEEZ NUTZ.....

  7. touche, Anonymous. Honestly I would love to see UO try to produce any of the products they sell by the methods R.E.Load uses... (so would Judy Wicks I'm sure).. By these methods Urban simply wouldnt have the "resources" (read: sweatshops) that makes them so powerful that they would "obliterate" R.E.Load in the marketplace. Yes, they might create competition, but isn't that what a healthy marketplace is? Competitive?
    and you're right, the last time i checked, R.E.Load wasn't whole foods (who ranks pretty high on the "BIG BAD corporations" list last time i checked whinyleftistliberals.com).
    One more thing, Anonymous. UO undercutting companies like R.E.Load and Chrome with copycat bags for cheap is obviously a move to force its way into (and these small companies out of) this niche market.
    You're right that no one is perfectly organic, or cruelty-free or sweatshop-free or whatever, and anyone who would claim such a thing is full of shit. But to come up with excuses for yourself and UO so that you dont feel guilty about your lifestyle (or job) is pretty pathetic.
    There are products that are easy to chose because of where they come from and how they are made, and there are things we use that aren't so easy to stay away from. But it's also pretty easy to only care about yourself and come across as an absolute douche.

  8. um, those bags look NOTHING alike! OMG!

  9. "copycat bags?" gerik, those bags look NOTHING alike. seriously. let's not kid ourselves, UO is a pubicly traded billion dollar company, if they decided to produce everything domestically, which, from what i've read on www.highidealsandno401k.com, they produce a good percentage of their stuff domestically, they could transition easily. if they wanted to produce everything "R.E.load's way", they could afford to do so. what anonymous was saying about R.E.Load filling it's "niche" is completly accurate. if UO wants to sell "cheap" messenger bags, which, by the way look NOTHING like R.E.Load's bags, for a third of the price the R.E.Load sells them for, isn't it up to the consumer to decide what is the value? a "true" real deal bike messenger wants to trust that their valuables will be safe and secure, if they feel like buying into the illusion of a higher price point = higher quality, then fine, so be it, they can shop at R.E.Load. they should buy the biggest messenger bag ever, one that will conceal the UO shopping bag inside easily. then, UO's employees will have to go work for Exxon-Mobil, Lockheed-Martin or GM, because those heartless yuppie sellouts know deep down inside that UO is just a stepping stone on their career path with those big boys ... i mean, come on, they work at the NAVY YARD ... coincidence?

  10. uh, those bags don't look very similar, other then the fact the are both messenger bags. WTF?

  11. let's just take a step back people. it's completely obvious that UO is moving into the hipster messenger bag market. it's also a given that they would attempt this move no matter their actual location. but it happens that both r.e.load and UO share the same city, and r.e.load came WAY before UO in the messenger bag department. so, coincidence or not, UO's move into the messenger bag scene is just part of their larger pattern of co-opting and outright copying creative work by creative people who try to do things on their own. i don't, however, think that UO plotted, "we're really going to GET r.e.load, grrr" or anything, they just tossed off some half-assed bags that look a little too much like r.e.load's to escape the comparison. and the trivialization is the worst of all.

    p.s. guy who even knows what that metallica album sounds like, you should be ashamed of yourself.

  12. http://urbncounterfeiters.blogspot.com/

  13. how old were you when minor threat broke up? 2? 3?

  14. dear anonymous,
    as a bagmaker myself, I pretty much agree across the board with Fabric Horse on this one. Urban Outfitters ripped off Reloads pattern. I work 2 blocks from Eric Zo, and while reload's concept is very similar to ZO's, ZO's is very reminiscent of De Martini, who are very reminiscent of sling bags throughout the ages.

    but seriously, UO ripped off the actual pattern. I mean it looks like they just took a reload bag over to china and said "make some of these". you know after having a short consultation on which colors would sell best to college students.

    It's just like Ampack ripping off Timbuk 2 and Krumpler bag designs. they didn't just use a similar concept, they used the same details in sewing and patterning. lame.

  15. OH and also, Chrome bags, Reload and Manhattan portage look nothing alike, I don't understand the comparison. unless of course "anonymous" is just some executive from UO who doesn't know anything about messenger bags and just googled up some company names.

  16. John McBomb hit it exact.

    Its not that it looks identical, its that the pattern is the same. I think most of the people posting haven't been into this stuff long enough to realize that, that design isn't just a "messenger bag design" it's R.E.Load's design. (And I am not putting you down for that, but really do some research before you go and throw your opinion around.)
    The fact is that R.E.load has been at the messenger bag thing for ages. They continue to build upon their original design, making it better and better. Their bags are super comfortable and the people working there are awesome. Another difference between a small company and UO is that if your bag breaks, they will fix it. I have a bailey's works that has been on my back everyday for 5 years. A few years back, I broke the strap clip. I called them up (the phone number is on the tag) they picked up by the 2nd ring. A new strap was made and it was at my house before I was! 3 days later!
    R.E.Load.... get a lawyer. They ripped you off and that isn't right. Get some money for some new equiment!

    ps. Don't be an apoligist for a huge company like UO, seriously if that your's mental, go buy a "laptop" bag and get on back to school to get that MBA, I sure you'll fit in prefectly!

  17. I AGREE!

    This is pretty much a knock-off with down-graded componentry. Not the first time I've heard of these guys doing this, and it certainly won't be the last.

    As small domestic companies, our intellectual property rights are being trampled on here.

  18. Wait, what? MBA's aren't cool anymore?


  19. I love al the anonymous whining. grow some balls speak your mind and put your name out there.

    and by the way Fk UO. wanna be hipsters, get your shit original and dont buy your attitude from a mass chain store. otherwise, stfu.

  20. i like all the anonymous comments. if you really want to 'share' your opinion, at least leave your name.