While school shootings and what causes them remains a contentious issue in the US, people have been left horrified after a fashion designer unveiled controversial hoodies featuring the names of schools devastated by shootings.
To make things even worse, the hoodies featured bullet holes, proving that seemingly no subject is off limits when it comes to profiting off tragedy.
Dystopia-inspired fashion house Bstroy, founded by Brick Owens and Dieter ‘Du’ Grams, debuted the offensive garments in New York this weekend, as part of its spring menswear collection.
However, after posting pictures of the school shooting hoodies on social media, the brand was inundated with comments branding their work ‘disgusting’, ‘callous’ and ‘revolting’, among other things.
As per the New York Post, Kyle Kashuv, who survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, took to Instagram to give Bstroy a piece of his mind, writing:
I would just like to say, what actual the hell is wrong with you. Goddamn monetizing off a school shooting. Disgusting.
Another user, who goes by the handle of @Kzaenzz and is also thought to a student at Stoneman Douglas, wrote:
My dead classmates dying should not be a f*cking fashion statement.
An Instagram account for the Vicki Soto Memorial Fund, named after a teacher who died at Sandy Hook, added:
As a Sandy Hook family, what you are doing here is absolutely disgusting, hurtful, wrong and disrespectful.
You’ll never know what our family went through after Vicki died protecting her students.
Our pain is not to be used for your fashion.
In response to the school shooting hoodies backlash, the designers attempted to explain their intentions in a bizarre and evasive statement on Instagram:
Sometimes life can be painfully ironic. Like the irony of dying violently in a place you consider to be a safe, controlled environment, like school.
We are reminded all the time of life’s fragility, shortness, and unpredictability yet we are also reminded of its infinite potential.
Grams and Owens, who both hail from Atlanta, recently appeared at a pop-up shop in their hometown, where they dipped a pair of Nike Air Max in concrete to signify ‘remaining grounded in your history.’
Speaking about the stunt, Grams told The New York Times:
We are making violent statements. That’s for you to know who we are, so we can have a voice in the market.
But eventually that voice will say things that everyone can wear.
Our thoughts are with all of those who have been affected by school shootings in the US.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.