Clothing brand Bstroy are drawing major flak for a range of hoodies that were designed to protest against gun violence.
The sweatshirts were printed with the names of US schools where massacres have taken place in recent years, were exhibited this week at a New York Fashion Week show.
But its not just the names, such as Sandy Hook, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Columbine and Virginia Tech, that are printed on the garments – people are outraged that the hoodies are ‘distressed’ with fake bullet holes.
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While the clothing line might have been intending to protest against the hundreds of gun deaths that happen in the US every year, the show has been interpreted by many commenters as in very poor taste.
More than one survivor of America’s school massacres has spoken out against the fashion line.
Kyle Kashuv, who narrowly escaped with his life after an expelled student returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, with an AR-15 and killed 17 people in 2018, branded the hoodies “disgusting.”
He said: “I would just like to say, what actual the hell is wrong with you. Goddamn monetising off a school shooting,”
The Vicki Soto Memorial Fund, a foundation named after a teacher killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in which 26 people died, posted a critical comment to their official Instagram page, which read: “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.”
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Dozens of other commenters have taken to Instagram and Twitter to criticise Bstroy’s approach.
One said “There is a special place in hell for people who try to make money off the death of children” and another added ‘You have got to be kidding me. To the designer: do you think you're funny? Do you think you're deep?
"This tragedy hurt so many families, people DIED. CHILDREN DIED. this is disgusting.”
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Not all saw the designs as offensive. one Instagram commenter pointed out: “Imagine being more offended about the hoodie than the deaths"
One of Bstroy’s designers, Brick Owens, posted a note defending the range, describing people dying in a place that they might expect to be safe and controlled as “painfully ironic.”
Mass shootings have been a worrying feature of US culture. The first of such massacres in a school occurred in Texas in 1966.
The problem seems to be worsening. Of the 10 deadliest mass shootings on US soil, seven have occurred since 2007.
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