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Menswear Company Condemned For School Shooting-Themed Hoodies With Bullet Holes

A New York-based fashion company has come under fire after releasing a line of menswear featuring bullet-ridden school sweatshirts, CBS News reported.

The garments also feature the names Sandy Hook, Stoneman Douglas, Columbine and Virginia Tech ⁠— four sites of the country's deadliest school shootings, resulting in the deaths of nearly 100 people.

The dystopian-themed fashion company Bstroy released the sweaters as part of its spring/summer 2020 collection, "Samsara."

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Creators Brick Owens and Dieter Grams were featured in a New York Times profile of the brand last week, and Grams said the purpose of their shocking clothing is to make "violent statements."

"That's for you to know who we are, so we can have a voice in the market," he said. "But eventually that voice will say things that everyone can wear."

The school sweaters debuted at a fashion show in New York City over the weekend.

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Pictures from the show were then uploaded to Bstroy's Instagram where they quickly went viral. If the designers were looking for attention through controversy, they certainly got it.

"It scares me that someone thinks this is okay," one user wrote, while another added, "There are more productive ways of opening discourse than blatantly profiting off the deaths of 6-year-old children."

School shooting survivors, as well as victims' families, have spoken out and slammed the offensive sweaters.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter, Jamie, was killed in the Parkland shootings, tweeted about the shocking fashion line and wrote, "Under what scenario could somebody think this was a good idea?"

"This has me so upset," he continued. "If any of my followers [know] anybody involved with this clothing line, please ask them to stop it immediately."

Angelina Lazo, a survivor of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas, took to the comments of one of Bstroy's Instagram photos to express her outrage.

Instagram | @aneglina_theboss

"I lived through this," she wrote. "To make money off of something pathetic like this is disgusting. You don't even know how it is to live everyday with reminders everywhere you go... There's so much trauma with [not] only myself but with thousands of other people who have experienced gun violence. This is disgusting."

Bstroy creator Owens responded to the criticism with an Instagram post where he shared a photo of a handout from the show.

"Sometimes life can be painfully ironic," the handout reads. "Like the irony of dying violently in a place you considered to be a safe, controlled environment, like school."

It continues, "We are reminded all the time of life's fragility, shortness, and unpredictability yet we are also reminded of its infinite potential."

Owens has since broken his silence and attempted to explain the purpose of the shocking sweaters.

Instagram | @brickowens

He explained to Today via email that the garments were meant to make a bold statement:

"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."

This isn't the first time a clothing company has stirred up controversy surrounding its school-related garments.

In 2014, Urban Outfitters sparked outrage after selling a Kent State sweatshirt featuring a design made to look like it was splattered with blood. The Ohio university was the site of the 1970 Kent State shooting, where four students were killed during a peace protest.

The sweater was quickly pulled from stores.

h/t: CBS News

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