A US fashion house has been slammed for creating controversial hoodies inspired by school shootings, with many claiming the designers took an attempt to be "edgy" too far.
The dystopia-inspired brand Bstroy used the concept of school shootings to inspire the line of outerwear. The controversial collection debuted in New York over the weekend as part of Bstroy's 2020 menswear collection.
The hoodies are emblazoned with the names of schools terrorised by mass shootings, including Columbine, Sandy Hook and Marjory Stoneman Douglas. They also feature rips to mimic bullet holes.
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Bstroy and its Atlanta-based creators, Brick Owens and Dieter "Du" Grams, have faced intense backlash after the brand unveiled the disturbing garments on social media. The hoodies have been labelled "disrespectful", "heartless" and "repulsive", a number of loved ones of school shooting victims expressing their disgust in the comments.
"What the actual hell is wrong with you. Goddamn monetising off a school shooting. Disgusting," wrote Marjory Stoneman Douglas survivor, Kyle Kashuv.
"My dead classmates... should not be a f***ing fashion statement," said one user, perceived to be another student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
"As a Sandy Hook family, what you are doing here is absolutely disgusting, hurtful, wrong and disrespectful... our pain is not to be used for your fashion," wrote the Vicki Soto Memorial Fund account, named after a teacher who was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting.
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The designers have since released a statement via Instagram in an attempt to justify their intention of "irony".
"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 duo responded.
"We are reminded all the time of life's fragility, shortness and unpredictability, yet we are also reminded of its infinite potential."
The designers were featured in a New York Times piece last week that praised their "post-apocalyptic", "punk impulses".
"We are making violent statements... so we can have a voice in the market," Grams told the publication.
Photos of the hoodies have remained on the brand's Instagram profile despite the backlash.