The world of fashion evolves constantly, and it adapts quickly to emerging needs. There is a growing concern with physical safety, especially when traveling, and designers have risen to the task of incorporating this element into fashion.
Bulletproof designer clothing is fashion’s response to a sense of threat affecting certain individuals. It combines fashion and body armor, the elements meeting to provide protection. You can get bulletproof designer clothing by placing a custom-made order or by purchasing ready-to-wear items.
To find out more about bulletproof designer clothing, check out the below guide. You can also get a glimpse into the history and the industry behind this growing trend.
What Is Bulletproof Designer Clothing?
Bulletproof designer clothing is created with the purpose to protect the person wearing it from the impact of potential bullets being fired at them. These clothes are meant to protect the vital organs by absorbing the impact and repelling bullet shrapnel in case of an attack. It is also meant to prevent the damage from potential bullets being able to puncture the body.
Worn by both private citizens and armed forces, bulletproof designer clothing can help keep you safe if you’re traveling to areas where potential conflict is expected. Bulletproof clothing is also a sought-after addition to the wardrobes of politicians, businessmen, security personnel, country leaders, celebrities, executives, and members of royal families.
Bulletproof clothing tends to be worn in combination with other protective elements, but designers have been creating apparel items that provide a level of subtlety by masking elements of body armor underneath seemingly ordinary designs.
Bulletproof fashion has evolved into a highly stylized and refined trend that continues adapting to its wearers’ needs every day. The materials used, primarily fiber reinforced with ceramic, polythene, and metal, now include more flexibility, comfort, and discretion. The designs also allow the wearers to preserve their sense of style without sacrificing the level of personal protection.
What Can It Protect Me From?
At the moment, bulletproof clothing mainly offers protection against firearms and attacks with bladed weapons. They do not protect in useful ways against damage caused by explosions. The technology is constantly reaching new heights of development, however, and it will likely provide further overall protection as it advances.
How Much Does It Cost?
Items of bulletproof clothing are available for all budgets. All these items provide some degree of protection, but they can vary in terms of materials used, which can affect the level of comfort in wearing them.
How to Get Bulletproof Designer Clothing
Bulletproof designer clothing is far more widespread than it used to be, and there are several options available to those who wish to purchase it.
- Custom order. If you’re looking for bulletproof clothing that fits your needs and your measurements perfectly, you should consider making a custom order with your preferred designer. You should research designers who offer custom options and contact them directly.
You can do this remotely if you’ve already had your measurements taken by a tailor before and have access to them. You can then pass these on to your preferred designer, usually via email or phone, along with the items you’d like to purchase. Order as many or as little pieces of apparel as you want, from shirts to full suits.
Your final product will be exclusively tailored according to your needs, and can even include matching accessories that have caught your eye.
- Ready-to-wear in stores. This is a more budget-friendly and more immediate option. Most designers have commercialized their ready-to-wear bulletproof clothing collections to make them more available to the general public who might need them.
Many have also opened retail stores across the world that house these collections and where you can go in person to choose the items that would suit you best.
- Ready-to-wear online. Another option that you have to purchase bulletproof designer clothing is by ordering online. You can have access to the ready-to-wear collections of most designers who offer the option of bulletproof clothing.
This option can also give you a wider variety of choices by making full catalogs available to you from the comfort of your home. You can purchase accessories to go with your selection of clothes, and you can even invest in body armor packages, according to your needs.
Who Makes Bulletproof Clothing?
The number of bulletproof clothing designers increases all the time, but some of them have become iconic figures when it comes to this style. Here are the designers that are best known in the world of bulletproof fashion:
BladeRunner Bulletproof Clothing
BladeRunner specializes in clothing that is meant to protect primarily from attacks with bladed weapons, but its body armor apparel is frequently used for bulletproof measures.
The BladeRunner garments maximize comfort and style levels, but also include a lining of Kevlar, a type of fiber that is extremely resistant and light. The BladeRunner anti-puncture gloves are a great addition to your wardrobe alongside their famous jackets.
Miguel Caballero Bulletproof Clothing
Miguel Caballero is one of the pioneering figures in the world of high-fashion bulletproof clothes. He started creating bulletproof fashion in the ‘90s, in his native Colombia, a country that was at the time known for its frequent and violent conflicts. Caballero’s line of bulletproof clothing has extended in its over two decades of existence, but it continues to provide the highest quality.
The materials used are always high-end, and the line offers a variety of apparel items that suit everyone’s needs, regardless of the level of protection they seek. Caballero’s line has become a staple in the United States too, where it is branded as MC Armor and led by Caballero’s wife, Carolina Ballesteros.
Aspetto Bulletproof Clothing
Known for its luxurious suits, Aspetto offers bulletproof clothing that is both technically advanced and high-fashion. The lightweight and resistant materials used are the same ones used by fashion powerhouses like Gucci and Prada.
Aspetto claims that its bulletproof protection is the pinnacle of such technology, particularly when it comes to its famous tuxedo. These suits are bespoke and include one of the lightest bulletproof protection to be found on the market.
Here Are The Most Well Known Bulletproof Clothes
Some bulletproof designer items of clothing have become the industry’s go-to. Here are some of the most popular choices:
- Aspetto Bulletproof Tuxedo. This is one of Aspetto’s bestsellers, created with luxurious materials and bulletproof lining that brings the tuxedo up to level IIIA protection. Level IIIA ballistic apparel protects against rifle rounds and handgun rounds. You have 500 options to choose from when it comes to fabrics for the custom-made luxury tuxedo that also keeps you safe.
- Baeza Bulletproof Blazer. This Miguel Caballero design is tailor-made with a combination of corduroy, suede, and cotton. This comfortable piece of clothing comes with several protection options, and the price ranges according to the level needed. The blazer is suitable to wear at dinners on the more elegant side.
- Garrison Bespoke Bulletproof Suit. This bespoke item makes use of nanotechnology to create a lightweight suit that is also discreet. The suit offers body armor protection without any of the bulk associated with it. The material is thin, flexible, and comfortable, and much lighter than Kevlar.
- Padua Bulletproof Jacket. Another Caballero design, this jacket is a high-end 100% cotton creation. The jacket includes a breastplate, epaulets, and pockets all lined with leather for extra resistance. Padua is a comfortable and stylish choice that will keep you protected.
- Caznac Bulletproof Jacket. The Caznac is designed with diamond quilting lining its corduroy and cotton body. The sleeves are also quilted for maximum protection while still delivering a stylish and lightweight product. This is another pricey piece of apparel, but it has excellent protective and fashion value. The Caznac is also designed by Miguel Caballero.
- Talin Vest. One more apparel item from Caballero’s extensive list of bestsellers, this vest includes a breastplate, leather fittings, and a hood with metallic lining in the strings. The Talin Vest is another lightweight and resistant item that makes a great addition to your bulletproof wardrobe.
Choosing The Right Bulletproof Accessories
Fashion designers have created many accessories to complement a bulletproof wardrobe. Here are some of the options you can purchase:
- The Bulletproof Baseball Hat, by BulletSafe. Offering level IIA protection, this baseball cap made from high-tech ballistic fabrics can stop firearms using 9mm, .45, .38, and .40 calibers, as well as some.357 Magnum rounds.
This is a lightweight accessory that includes most of its protection lining at the top, without being as cumbersome as a helmet.
- The FireBird Armored Backpack. Made by AR500 Armor, the FireBird will protect you from most guns used in violent crimes. The backpack will act as a camouflaged shield and potentially both save your life and buy you time to escape due to the elements of surprise in the case of an armed incident.
The FireBird has integrated body armor that is effective against rifles and pistols at Level III and Level IIIA protection, respectively. There is an optional trauma pad option that can be sewn into the backpack. If you’re looking to start with a cheaper option, the Phoenix is another functional choice.
- BladeRunner Gloves. These anti-slash gloves can be fitted with more extensive anti-puncture technology. They are designed to protect hands from shrapnel, blades, and broken glass. They cannot offer protection against needles, but they are an accessory that can help in a pinch.
Choosing the Right Bulletproof Clothing For You
There are extensive options for bulletproof clothing that vary according to what your needs are. Here are some tips for how to choose the right bulletproof apparel:
- One size does not fit all. You should only get bulletproof clothing that fits your needs to make sure that you get the best protection possible.
- Decide based on the level of threat. The situations you’ll be in will determine what level of protection you’ll need. If you’re experiencing serious threats against your life then you should go for the maximum level of protection available to you.
If you are in a position where you’d rather prevent an incident than sure of one, you can choose something with more lightweight protection.
- Take into account the occasion. If you’re attending a formal event, you should decide on the level of threat you may be experiencing and then consider the particularities of the event.
A lightweight suit with bulletproof clothing or a reinforced blazer will go a long way to protect you in a very discrete manner during speeches, dinners, and other events.
- Comfort is essential. Regardless of where you’ll be, ensuring that you’ll be comfortable wearing your bulletproof designer clothing for an extended amount of time is recommended. The flexibility and wearability of your clothes are big factors.
Big bulletproof fashion designers use only the most lightweight and comfortable materials, and some even include temperature regulation. You should test out what feels best to you whenever you consider investing in this type of clothing.
- Price points vary. The materials used and the level of protection needed will determine the price of the item. You should only invest a sizable sum if you’re looking for luxury and a high level of protection. There are affordable items of bulletproof clothing as well.
The History Behind Bulletproof Clothing
The history of bulletproof clothing began with the bulletproof vest. One of the first recorded instances of a bulletproof vest dates back to 1538, when Francesco Maria della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, asked armorer Filippo Negroli to create something that would protect him from damage caused by firearms. Later in the 16th century, the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II was also said to have exposed his armor to gunfire damage to create something that would withstand it.
In the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell’s cavalry was equipped with armor that had three layers of plating to prevent gunfire from puncturing it. In the 19th century, the industrial era brought with it the commercialization of bulletproof wear. This was initially produced for commercial use by a tailor from Dublin, Ireland.
Later that century, the Koreans expanded on the Japanese concept of soft armor while creating protection plans against invading Western forces. These armors used ten layers of cotton after extensive tests.
Many individuals and groups of people started experimenting with various materials to prevent damage from gunfire. At the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, silk vests were common, particularly for members of the nobility and royalty seeking protection.
A need for increased defenses against gunfire became apparent during World War I, which led to increased research into padding armor. By World War 2, reinforced types of armor had begun to appear in the armies involved. After the world wars, experimentation continued during the Korean and Vietnam wars.
This led to the creation, in 1969, of the American Body Armor, marketed primarily by famous firearm manufacturer Smith & Wesson. Kevlar was discovered in the ‘70s, which led to new avenues of research. Body armor has since become part of the norm for military personnel, as well as civilians.
The Bulletproof Fashion Industry Takes Off
The bulletproof industry has evolved from being restricted to military research. The constant rise of gun violence in many countries has led civilians to seek out solutions to what can be a permanent threat. With Miguel Caballero pioneering bulletproof fashion and putting it in the spotlight in the ‘90s, the industry has changed to include many different types of people seeking out extra layers of protection.
Gun violence is common in even the most evolved countries, particularly in the United States, where school shootings have become frequent. The industry aims to provide options to those feeling unprotected, as well as appealing to big spenders with high-end materials and designs on a par with those of fashion brand powerhouses.
The industry has enjoyed steady growth since the ‘90s, and it currently experiences ongoing demand. The main clients purchasing bulletproof fashion are VIP and civilians, with individuals in defense sectors being significant investors as well.
Some consistent key players are producing bulletproof clothing on the market, with many of them also specializing in bulletproof fashion:
- Miguel Caballero
- MARS Armor
- Honeywell International
- VestGuard UK
- Wenzhou Start Co Ltd
- US Armor Corporation
- Ceradyne Inc.
Bulletproof designer clothing has become a defining trend within the general industry, and it’s becoming more commercialized and less exclusive. Most of it remains on the pricier side, but the prices are informed by the evolution of the technology and the materials used. More affordable items are trickling through as the industry grows along with the demand.
The Different Types of Body Armor
There are several types of body armor and knowing more about them can help you when the time comes to invest in bulletproof fashion clothing. Here are some of the categories you may encounter:
- Levels. There are four main levels of bulletproof clothing: IIA, II, IIIA, III, and IV. The most widespread ones are levels IIA to IIIA, which protect commonly used firearms. Levels III and IV are used more for large and high-velocity bullets. The latter two have higher ballistic content.
- Multi-threat. This type of body armor is for those who don’t know what kind of threat they are facing, or who are facing a multitude of threats. It is usually made for law enforcement personnel but can be purchased by individuals too. It can be personalized to include material that help protect against most known attacks at the same time.
- Edged blade protection. As the name suggests, this type of body armor is aimed a those who are at higher risk of experiencing knife attacks. Bladed attacks affect armor in different ways than bullets do, and different materials and designs are used too.
- Spike protection. This type aims to protect against needles, ice picks, screwdrivers, etc. It’s not extremely different from the edged blade type, but it does offer more specific protection.
- Ballistic protection. This is the type better known as bulletproof, and the one that most affects the bulletproof fashion industry. It protects primarily against bullets and attempts to fully prevent them from puncturing the body. The level of protection will indicate what the body armor is best suited for and whether it fits your needs.
The Materials Used for Bulletproof Clothing
Many combinations of materials are used to create bulletproof clothing. Here are the most prevalent ones:
- Kevlar, a strong yet soft fiber that can trap bullets.
- Hard plates, used for higher levels of protection, made out of mixes of steel, titanium, ceramics, and polyethylene.
- Chain mail, still used today in body armor in multiple layers that prevent puncture.
- Laminated plastic, used in many types of bulletproof technology from car windows to fashion. Using it in sheets provides plenty of bullet resistance.
- Dyneema, another type of fiber that offers strong protection in a soft casing.
- Sheet materials, woven from yarn into sheets of fabric that provide plenty of resistance against bullets when attached to clothing.
- 100% cotton, historically proven to be resistant to bullets and to provide comfort.
- Microfiber, a type of fiber that helps regulate body temperature by adapting to the environment.
- Ballistic panels, you’ll find these attached to your clothes. They will help absorb any potential impact.
- Leather, a material that is resistant and can be used to reinforce lining.
Creating Bulletproof Clothing
Bulletproof designer clothing is created from the vision of the designer until it is produced in its final form. The process involves working with raw materials like Kevlar or Dyneema until they can be spun into yarn.
They are then combined with sheet materials that have been woven and then rolled. Then the combination must be cut according to the pattern or following steps with a machine, usually into panels.
After that, the panels will be sewn into the garment depending on what type they are, and then tucked into a carrier. The panels and the carrier are what create the ultimate bulletproof part of the garment.
Does Bulletproof Designer Clothing Provide Enough Protection?
Bulletproof clothing tends to be mostly bullet resistant, but this can be enough to protect you in many situations, particularly when attacked with small-caliber handguns. The clothing will attempt to stop the bullet by making it change its trajectory, which causes it to mushroom. The impact can still cause issues due to how violent it is, but it can prevent the worst.
Bulletproof clothing is not a measure of gun control, but it can help protect you against damage caused by firearms. No fully bulletproof option exists, but on many occasions, it can protect you enough to save your life.
The purpose of bulletproof clothing is to prevent damage rather than being able to fully eradicate it. You must ensure that the fit and state of wear of your body armor are constantly in the best shape to make sure to provide the best protection they can.
You should also be aware of the tests that your clothing has gone through before purchasing it. You will be responsible for maintaining them from now on, and body armor must continue to be tested throughout its shelf life.
The Legalities of Bulletproof Clothing
The legality of using bulletproof clothing varies by nation, and sometimes even within one. In the United States, for example, it is legal to wear bulletproof clothing across the states, with some exceptions for convicted felons.
In Connecticut, you can only purchase your bulletproof clothing in person, not online or by telephone. In Louisiana, bulletproof clothing cannot be sold on school property or at school events. In Arizona, it is illegal to wear bulletproof clothing while breaking the law. Many other states follow that law.
Outside the United States, the purchase and ownership of bulletproof clothing continue to be a varied concept in the eyes of the law. In the United Kingdom, there are no restrictions. In Australia, it is illegal to own bulletproof clothing without proper permits across most of the territory.
Across the European Union, military bulletproof clothing is not allowed for civilian use. In Canada, the use of bulletproof clothing is illegal but you must have the proper permits for it in particular territories like Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia.
You are not permitted to buy bulletproof clothing from the United States if you do not reside there. Bulletproof clothing cannot be shipped or transported outside of the United States for commercial use in a different country.
Bulletproof designer clothing is a trend that has emerged within the bulletproof clothing industry as a response to a growing sense of threat in a volatile world. Fashion designers have been creating luxury bulletproof clothing with the latest technology and the best materials. Many of these designs can rival those of any established fashion house in the world.
If you’re looking to invest in bulletproof clothing, there are plenty of options in terms of apparel items as well as accessories. You should buy them according to the level of protection you seek and the use you’ll make of them. Bulletproof clothing has a long history, but it has now evolved to serve civilians looking for safety too.
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