A clothing store in Virginia sells looks that are “dressed to kill.” But in the back, tailors sew soft armor into soft fabrics for another reason — dress not to be killed.
“We are in business to offer that security and protection for people,” said Robert Davis.
In 2011, he and Abbas Haider launched a clothing line called Aspetto to make armored handmade clothing. They sell five levels of armor, all government-certified.
An armored t-shirt costs almost $1,000. An armored men’s suit runs $8,000.
“People are literally trusting their lives with this product so you can’t sell something that we don’t think is going to work,” said Haider.
At a firing range, their armored vest repeatedly stopped bullets fired pointblank from a 9-millimeter handgun.
Miguel Caballero, a competitor company based in Colombia, recently started selling through stores in the U.S. to target customers like J.J. Wood.
“You know it’s there,” Wood said. “You’re comfortable. You have I guess it’s that piece of mind.”
Aspetto’s co-founders say 85 percent of their customers work for U.S. government agencies. But they also sell to foreign VIPs, oil executives and everyday Americans.
When asked if demand goes up after a mass shooting, like recent massacre in Las Vegas, they admit that it does.
“We had a grandma who contacted us and wanted a ballistic sweatshirt,” said Haider.
They admit the increased demand shows there’s a real concern in America right now.
It’s illegal for convicted felons to buy armored clothing. Background checks aren’t required by law, but Aspetto runs them anyway. In his business, taking precautions has come into fashion.