For a while, a Colombian clothes designer named Miguel Caballero seemed to be the only player in what seemed to be a extremely niche segment of the market—bullet-proof clothes that were stylish to boot. No more, reports Fox News. The industry is growing beyond South America, and a slew of companies in the US and elsewhere are hoping to cash in. One industry estimate has the "global body armor and personal protection market" rising from $2.4 billion last year to $3.7 billion in 2023. Think snazzy shirts, jackets, and vests that can stop a bullet.
"Throughout the decade, there has been a global exponential increase in civilian awareness regarding terrorism or 'of the sort' violence," says the president of New York armor wear company Doo Aquino. "Wearing stylish body armor has caught on not only in the US, but around the world." But expect to shell out. A Virginia company called Aspetto tells the Wire that one of its custom-made bullet-proof suits costs up to $5,000. And if you happen to get shot? "You should get a new suit," says a company exec. The clothes are designed to take multiple shots, but repeat performances aren't advised. Fox also takes note of another burgeoning market: Some 8 million Americans now have permits to carry concealed handguns, and they need clothes to make sure the "concealed" part holds true. (The general trend already has reached the school-age set in the form of bullet-proof backpacks and clothes.)