In a factory on the outskirts of the Colombian capital Bogotá are produced some of the thinnest and most stylish bulletproof clothes in the world.
It’s no surprise in a country ravaged by narco-terrorism, where attacks and kidnappings remain commonplace. Items on sale include vests, jackets and shirts, some claiming to offer resistance even to a Kalashnikov.
Before hitting the market, the bulletproof vests are subject to tests in order to be considered safe by US and Israeli standards, which are among the highest in the world. The vests are fired at with shotguns, Uzis, Kalashnikovs and other deadly devices. The results are then verified by independent authorities.
“We’ve focused on developing flexible products, which very light weight and 100% discreet. We’ve improved them by using nanotechnology and they are thermo-regulated at temperatures between 13 and 17 degrees Celcius. We’ve also improved on the look: the clothes are very discreet,” says the company owner, Miguel Caballero.
Our reporter was first subjected to a taser test to check the clothing’s resistance, which proved positive. Before undergoing the ultimate test – being shot at with a .38 caliber – our reporter had to sign a letter of discharge. The outcome was impressive but harmless: as he raised his shirt to show the spot where the bullet hit, there wasn’t even a red mark in sight.
Safety comes at a price, however, with jackets costing anywhere upwards from US$ 2,500. The company also produces bulletproof backpacks for children, following the school shootings in the US. Established more than twenty years ago, the company is now one of the leaders on the market, and even opened a concession at Harrods in 2008.