A line of sweatshirts embroidered with names of schools where mass shootings have occurred is provoking anger and controversy on social media.
The brand behind the idea is called Bstroy. Their website advertises streetwear like graphic t-shirts, brightly colored parkas and jeans for a few hundred dollars. But it’s a line of sweatshirts that isn’t even available for sale right now that has some people bothered.
The hoodies bear names like Sandy Hook Elementary, Columbine, and other schools where mass shootings have happened, along with holes that look like they came from bullets.
The New York brand showed the hoodies earlier this week as part of their Spring 2020 collection, invoking angry comments on Instagram.
Sandy Hook Promise denounced what they called the “offense and traumatic release” of the sweatshirts.
“The fact that a designer would seek to profit by glamorizing the school violence that killed our children, Dylan and Daniel, and the deaths of so many more, is repugnant and deeply upsetting,” said Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden, co-founders and managing directors of Sandy Hook Promise. “This is not about inspiring change to prevent these acts of violence, nor is it a difference of politics or opinion; it is human decency to immediately halt the production of these items and apologize.”
“The release of these items and the nature in which they were posted online have drawn condemnation from thousands, including others in the communities of Parkland, Virginia Tech, and Columbine, which also had styles released with their school names. To attempt to capitalize on using supposed bullet holes as a style statement is repulsive and wrong.”
In a statement to NBC News, Bstroy’s owner said, in part “"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."
Hartford resident Joey Batts said conversation about guns is a good thing, but perhaps not like this.
“It’s tasteless,” he said. “I think it’s a shock factor. Shock sells and shock gets you Instagram likes and shock gets you retweeted on twitter. So it makes sense.”
Instagram pictures of the hoodies have garnered thousands of likes along with those upset responses, prompting some people to just look the other way.
“It’s not going to get me talking. I think it’s just stupid. Don’t make a big deal about it. It’ll go away,” said Dave Savage of Somers.
Whether the controversy or the brand will go away remains to be seen. In that statement to NBC the owners of Bstroy also said the school shooting sweatshirts were originally made just for the fashion show, but “that may change now.”