A New York-based fashion designer is facing major backlash after releasing a new line of hoodies inspired by a series of mass school shootings.
Founder and designer of Bstroy, Brick Owens, is facing criticism after unveiling his Spring 2020 collection this week, which featured a number of hoodies with the names of schools where horrific mass shootings took place.
The designs looked worn and riddled with bullet holes.
Owens posted the designs to Instagram but followers were quick to condemn the styles for their apparent lack of sensitivity and taste.
“Exploitation of deaths of children no older than 18 for personal financial gain is just so fire isn’t it? Hopefully you give all the monetary gain to charities....’” one user commented beneath the photo of a Columbine hoodie.
Someone who claimed to have survived the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting where 26 people, some as young as 6, were killed, called the design “hurtful” and “inconsiderate.”
“I urge you to take it down out of respect for the victims, survivors and families,” the post continued.
Another person commented: “The fact that u made a sweatshirt with holes in it representing BULLET HOLES from a shooting where children were MURDERED is gruesome. This is disgusting.”
Two other hoodies representing the shootings at Virginia Tech and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 32 and 17 students were killed, respectively, were also featured on Owens’ Instagram.
Owens later posted a message on social media that appeared to explain the decision to design the clothing line after the shootings.
"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," he wrote. "We are reminded all the time of life's fragility, shortness, and unpredictability yet we are also reminded of its infinite potential. It is this push and pull that creates the circular motion that is the cycle of life.”
Owens told NBC that while the clothes were originally meant to make a statement only, he and co-designer Duey Catorze might consider selling them now.
“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,” he said.
“These hoodies were made with all of these intentions in mind, and to explore all of these societal issues.”