Fashion clothing brand Bstroy has come under fire recently over a new line of clothing it revealed during New York Fashion Week. Bstroy revealed a line of hoodies with the names of four sites of mass shootings: Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook Elementary, Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Columbine. Each hoodie featured “distressed detailing resembling bullet holes,” according to CBS News.
Almost 100 people were killed across the four sites listed above. This includes Virginia Tech, where 32 people were killed in 2007. Thus far, the clothing line has received largely negative responses, although there has been some support as well.
With the spread of images from the fashion show, Virginia Tech released a statement on Twitter in response to an image showing “Virginia Tech” embroidered across the front of one of the tattered hoodies.
“This is not an endorsed university item, and we reject its message and imagery,” the statement read. “We’ve asked this item to be removed and not sold as it represents an illegal use of our name.” It continued to state that the community can help by not sharing this image to prevent any further harm. It does not appear that any further action will be taken at this time.
Following the backlash, Bstroy co-founders Brick Owens and Dieter Grams defended the message of their newest fashion line.
“Sometimes life can be painfully ironic. Like the irony of dying violently in a place you considered to be a safe, controlled environment, like a school,” said Owens in an Instagram post.
Owens continued, writing how the clothing, part of Bstroy’s spring 2020 collection called “Samsara,” was intended to explain the “fragility, shortness, and unpredictability” of life and how “Samsara is the cycle we must transcend to reach Nirvana.”
According to TIME, Grams made a statement regarding the goal of this newest line and what he and Owens wanted to accomplish.
“We wanted to make a comment on gun violence and the type of gun violence that needs preventative attention and what its origins are,” said Grams in the statement released to TIME. In addition, Grams noted that Bstroy originally did not intend to put the hoodies up for sale, but are now considering it following small pockets of support from the public.
Despite the intended message of this clothing line, the reveal left victims and gun control activists advocating for the termination of the new line and for the company to issue a formal apology.
Among those speaking out against the company’s reference to the mass shootings was Fred Guttenberg, the father of one of the victims in the Parkland shooting.
“Under what scenario could somebody think this was a good idea? This has me so upset,” Guttenberg tweeted Sept. 17. Guttenberg continued by urging people to advocate for the end of the sale of these items.
Delaney Tarr, a survivor of the Parkland shooting and co-founder of the March For Our Lives advocacy group, called the clothes “disgusting” and “unacceptable” in a recent tweet.
It has yet to be seen whether Bstroy will include these hoodies in its Samsara line.