A Streetwear brand Bstroy showcased its 2020 fashion collection in New York City.
The fashion brand sparked outrage after featuring hoodies in a fashion show that were inspired by school shootings.
Bstroy – co-founded by Brick Owens and Dieter Grams shared a series of pictures on Instagram of models wearing the clothing, which is emblazoned with the logos of four schools that have faced mass shootings: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
In 1999, 13 people shot dead at Colorado’s Columbine, 32 killed in Blacksburg’s Virginia shooting in 2007, 27 killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, and 17 killed at Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School.
The hoodies were covered in circular rips that resembled bullet holes. Many people didn’t find the design of hoodies impressive and the fashion brand had to face backlash.
One person commented on Instagram: “Profiting off of tragedy. The dudes who are gonna wearing this hoodie aren’t activists who wanna spread awareness. They’re just tryna flex. It’s all materialism, no activism.”
“My dead classmates dying should not be a f—— fashion statement,” another user wrote.
A person who claimed to be a victim of one of the shootings said: “As a victim of Columbine, I am appalled. This is disgusting. You can draw awareness another way but don’t you dare make money off of our tragedy.”
Another said: “I lived through this,”
“To make money off of something pathetic like this is disgusting. You don’t even know how it is to live every day with reminders everywhere you go. There’s so much trauma within not only myself, but within thousands of other people who have experienced gun violence, This is disgusting.”
The brand shared a note after getting criticized on Instagram.
It reads: “Sometimes life can be painfully ironic. Like the irony of dying violently in a place you considered 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. It is this push and pull that creates the circular motion that is the cycle of life.”
“Nirvana is the goal we hope to reach through meditation and healthy practices that counter our destructive habits. Samsara is the cycle we must transcend to reach Nirvana.”
But people were not convinced with the justification and continued criticizing the label.
One person said: “Children being mercilessly murdered in their classrooms isn’t a ‘journey of the soul’. Family members of the victims of these shootings have expressed the pain they felt over this collection. Their voices matter more than whatever pseudo-spiritual message you *thought* you were making.”
In a statement sent to TIME, co-founder Grams said: “We wanted to make a comment on gun violence and the type of gun violence that needs preventative attention and what its origins are while also empowering the survivors of tragedy through storytelling in the clothes.”
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