Menswear fashion brand Bstroy recently published images of its new collection on Instagram, including sweatshirts emblazoned with the names of schools where mass shootings occurred, facing immediate outrage and backlash.
Bstroy shared images of Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas sweatshirts—riddled with bullet holes.
Families of victims and survivors commented on the designs, calling them "disgusting" and "disrespectful." Nonprofit account The Vicki Soto Memorial Fund, made in honor of a teacher who died in the Sandy Hook massacre, wrote in the Sandy Hook shirt comments, “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.”
“Under what scenario could somebody think this was a good idea? This has me so upset,” Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime Guttenberg was killed in the Parkland shooting, posted on Twitter. Marjory Stoneman Douglas survivor Karissa Saenz wrote on the post with the design with her school’s logo, “My dead classmates dying should not be a fucking fashion statement.”
The brand, created by Brick Owens and Dieter “Du” Gramsand, is described as a “Neo-Native Menswear Design House” on its Instagram page. After the backlash, the two founders sent a statement to the "Today" show, reading, “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.” At the time of publication, Bstory did not respond to our request for comment.
Although the sweatshirts were not originally meant for sale, according to Owens and Gramsand, the creators told The Cut, "the school shooting hoodies were initially intended to be just for the show and not to sell but that may change now.”
Another Marjory Stoneman Douglas survivor Angelina Lazo called out the designers. “I lived through this...to make money off of something pathetic like this is disgusting,” she wrote. "You don’t even know how it is to live every day with reminders everywhere you go…there’s so much trauma with not only myself but with thousands of other people who have experienced gun violence...this is disgusting.”