"Liberal politics and mass consumption are difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile....So it should come as quite a bore to learn that Urban Outfitters, is actually run by an evil conservative genius named Richard Hayne, who takes the 28 bucks you spend on an Obamaniac shirt and parlays it into a fatty donation to the Republican Party. Beneficiaries have included former Senator Rick Santorum. How truly ironic!"
"It seems unlikely that many of the staff or the customers know much about the owner and boss of Urban - a brilliant retailer called Richard Hayne whose views would be a serious risk to sales were his profile to rise.
Hayne started the business in the 1970s, taking it public in 1993 and bringing it to Britain in 1998. He is still the biggest shareholder and a seriously rich man - a billionaire by some estimates. You only have to look to see that there is nothing remotely hip about him. There is surely a bigger gulf between Hayne and his customer base than any other High Street retailer.
Shopping in Urban makes you feel like you are somewhere radically Left-wing, an antidote to the corporate blandness of The Gap. But Hayne is a stanch conservative who donates money to Republican politicians, not least Rick Santorum, a now failed Senator whose views on homosexuality are both bizarre and old-fashioned.
Hayne doesn't give many interviews precisely because he's afraid that college slackers who get to know him will suddenly realise that buying his clothes is like giving cash to George Bush.
Once described as projecting a 'Dick Cheney-esque aura of no-nonsense grayflannel gravitas', Hayne must be the only retailer whose expansion plans depend on no one finding out who he really is.
Despite the strife in the sector, Urban just beat Wall Street profit expectations yet again. So far, the illusion is holding up perfectly."*
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