On Sunday, Sept. 15, designers Brick Owens and Duey Catorze of the fashion brand Bstroy released their spring collection for 2020, which included pieces of clothing with the names of schools in which shootings have occurred. These sweatshirts with names such as Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Columbine High School, Virginia Polytech University and Sandy Hook Elementary also included holes to represent those made by bullets.
Students and parents first found out about this collection when Owens posted a picture of the clothing on his Instagram @brickowens. In a survey of 216 students, parents, teachers, alumni and community members, 94% felt angry, disappointed and disgusted, while 4% liked the idea and the other 2% had not seen the post. Furthermore, students have been speaking their minds on social media on this topic by posting the picture on their Instagram stories.
“I think that Brick Owens is using our name and what we went through to make a profit and to create a shock factor for their audience,“ junior Maddie Zeltwanger said. “If they were trying to send a message about gun violence or our ‘reality’, they should’ve found another way to do so. Exploiting the deaths of our classmates and teachers shouldn’t be made a fashion statement and isn’t something they can use to create a controversy.”
Not only have students been reposting these photos on their Instagram stories, they have also commented on the post and have received a large amount of support from fellow students, alumni, parents and those who have viewed the post.
Through Instagram direct message, Catorze stated that he and the brand had absolutely no intention to disrespect the victims of these tragedies, but instead to represent art in a way that they knew would receive mixed results. They were hoping that the victims of the families would appreciate their representation of their art once they reached out to them and explained what their intentions were. Additionally, he expresses the effort and money put into the fashion show.
“We wanted to present the victims as triumphant and victorious to change the usual perception of them in the media. It was meant to be positive,” Catorze said. “At the same time, we wanted to remind people not to forget these tragedies and to continue to make efforts to honor the victims.”
As of right now, Bstroy does not plan on selling the hoodies, however they want everyone to understand that it is just art. No public apologies or posts regarding the clothing have been announced by the brand as of now.