The New York street wear brand Bstroy’s new hoodies are stamped with collegiate-style block lettering featuring the name of one of four well-known American schools. They look like any other school sweatshirt, until you notice the bullet holes. The backlash began immediately after the company posted photos on Instagram of the bullet-hole-riddled hoodies with the names of schools where dozens of students have died in mass shootings: Columbine, Sandy Hook, Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Virginia Tech, the New York Times reports. Photos showcasing the hoodies, introduced at a Manhattan fashion show Friday, drew the ire of those affected by school shootings, along with many others. “Under what scenario could somebody think this was a good idea?” Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime Guttenberg, was killed in the Parkland, Fl., shooting last year, said on Twitter.
Delaney Tarr, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, called the sweatshirts “disgusting” and “unacceptable.” She pointed out that March for Our Lives, a student-led gun control group, sells shirts whose proceeds “go to actually empowering survivors.” Despite the uproar, the brand found scattered support among those who felt the bullet-hole design brought needed attention to the issue of gun control. One of the brand’s co-founders, Dieter 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.” A statement on a card printed with the collection’s name says, “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.”