Parents wait for news after a reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)
This is not okay. Featured at New York’s Fashion Week, “Bstroy,” a company which designs “haute” streetwear, has introduced a new line of hoodies from their Spring 2020 menswear collection, featuring the names of schools where major shootings have occurred. You can choose between Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and Marjory Stoneman Douglas. As if they needed to further drive their message home, each hoodie is riddled with “bullet holes.”
In an email to the fashion site, The Cut, designers Dieter Grams and Brick Owens wrote, “We wanted to make a comment on gun violence and the type of gun violence that needs preventative attention, while also empowering the survivors of tragedy through storytelling in the clothes.”
The company provided a card which was handed out at the event. It said, “Nirvana is the goal we hope to reach through meditation and healthy practices that counter our destructive habits…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.”
Needless to say, many on social media were outraged by the hoodies, as they should be.
Under what scenario could somebody think this was a good idea? This has me so upset. If any of my followers no anybody involved with this clothing line, please ask them to stop it immediately.https://t.co/VzAlog0TCt
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) September 17, 2019
Kyle Kashuv, a familiar name from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, wrote: “I would just like to say, what actual the hell is wrong with you. goddamn monetizing off a school shooting. disgusting.”
A second Parkland survivor posted, “My dead classmates dying should not be a f***ing fashion statement.”
Another survivor wrote, “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.”
A friend of teacher Victoria Soto, who was killed during the Sandy Hook shooting, tweeted, “This is just absolutely horrific. A company is making light of our pain and other’s pain for fashion. Selling sweatshirts with our name and bullet holes. Unbelievable.”
Grams and Owens, who once staged a fashion show in a funeral home, saying its clothes were designed for a post-apocalyptic world, tried to defend themselves from the onslaught of criticism.
Owens blames racism for the sharp criticism. “Also built into the device is the fact that our image as young, black males has not been traditionally awarded credit for introducing avant-garde ideas. So many people have assumed our message to be lazy just because of what they’ve been taught about black men. These hoodies were made with all of these intentions in mind, and to explore all of these societal issues.”
The duo says they are trying to “highlight overlooked issues. These hoodies are a commentary on gun violence and are supposed to EMPOWER the survivors of mass shootings. Why? Because the hoodies are telling THEIR story.”
His comments are utterly ridiculous. They’re not empowering the survivors of mass shootings, they are exploiting them.
They are using the shock value of the hoodies to put themselves on the map as designers so they can make money.
They are not avant-garde. They are pathetic.
— The View (@TheView) September 18, 2019