Company faces backlash after releasing school-shooting-themed hoodies

Many students and staff members have been killed in school shootings. Graphic by Siri Kanter ’20.

Many students and staff members have been killed in school shootings. Graphic by Siri Kanter ’20.

Siri Kanter ’20, Associate Managing Editor

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The New York fashion company BStroy launched a collection of sweatshirts on Sept. 15 with bullet holes through them and the names of schools and universities where mass shootings have occurred. The mens’ collection, SAMSARA, includes the names “Marjory Stoneman Douglas,” “Sandy Hook,” “Columbine” and “Virginia Tech.”
BSroy has faced backlash since dropping the clothing line. Many argue that the sweatshirts demean the tragedy and loss that resulted from the shootings and is a means to profit from peoples’ deaths.
“I think the clothing is completely inappropriate,” Arianna Gerig ’20 said. “It’s extremely insensitive of the brand to release anything that exploits other peoples’ pain.”
People who were directly impacted by the shootings also voiced their resentment towards the company.
“Under what scenario could somebody think this is a good idea?” Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Highschool, posted on Twitter. “This has me so upset. If any of my followers [know] anyone involved with this clothing line, please ask them to stop it immediately.”
Other outraged citizens believe that BStroy is doing just as much damage as companies that sell guns.
“What’s the difference between your brand and gun companies?” Instagram user @necia_666 commented under BStroy’s post of its “Columbine” hoodie. “Both are profiting off the murders of kids in schools. At least gun companies are honest – their products kill. You’re [profiting] but claiming ‘IRONY.’”
Despite the controversy, the brand has defended itself and the sweatshirts, claiming that the sweatshirts are to be used as a symbol of the tragedies.
“Sometimes life can be painfully ironic. Like the irony of dying violently in a place you consider to be a safe, controlled environment, like school,” the company’s founder Brick Owens posted in an Instagram statement. “We are reminded all the time of life’s fragility, shortness and unpredictability yet we are also reminded of its infinite potential.”’
BStroy labels itself as a “neo-native” up-and-coming streetwear line from Atlanta. According to an article published in Paper Magazine, the brand was previously known for $1000 jeans and Nike sneakers dipped in concrete.
Jake D’Amico ’20 thinks the sweatshirts had the possibility to make an impact.
“If the sweatshirts were being used to make a statement, I actually think they’ve done a good job in showing the raw impact of mass shootings,” D’Amico said. “They become problematic when they’re used for fashion, which I sadly think they might be.”

It’s extremely insensitive of the brand to release anything that exploits other peoples’ pain.”

— Arianna Gerig ’20

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