Saturday, November 20, 2010

President Obama and the Bulletproof Suit

When newly inaugurated President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama stepped out of the presidential limo to stroll down the parade route amongst a throng of well-wishers, there was an assumed collective gasp of surprise for many who witnessed this. In truth, while this was indeed a bold gesture for the first African-American President of the United States, Mr. Obama was wearing special bulletproof clothing crafted by "high-security fashion tailor" Miguel Caballero.

"Miguel" who?

In 1992, University of the Andes students Jose Miguel Caballero and John Murphy created the first of their fashion-conscious bulletproof and "stab-proof" clothing line some say as a response to the high casualties created by the Medellin drug cartel wars, which were at their peak. While the young entrepreneurs have strongly denied all accusations of exploiting the drug war violence, they opened their first clothing store dubbed "Miguel Caballero" in Medellin. In 1996, there were 30,000 violent deaths in Colombia.

Miguel Caballero opened their second store in Mexico City, Mexico. Some have said that it was a response to current drug cartel wars in that country. Additional stores have opened in Guatemala City, Johannesburg and London.

About Miguel Caballero clothing

Note that the exact details of President Obama's Miguel Caballero bullet resistant clothing are secret. While high-security clothing has traditionally been made from Kevlar, a bulky Teflon derivative, Miguel Caballero clothing materials are of a thinner and more flexible weave of materials with a more fashion-conscious emphasis. Caballero not only makes bullet resistant suits, they make bullet and stab-resistant biker leather jackets, tuxedo shirts, women's ski parkas, t-shirts lined with body armor and even bullet resistant underwear that would fit under a monk's robe. Sadly, they also make bulletproof jackets for children. And Miguel Caballero once specially crafted an armored kimono for actor Steven Seagal.

Besides Seagal and President Obama, Caballero has made specialized high-security fashions for controversial Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez and Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe.

The clothing is sold at three tiers of security certified by the U.S. National Institute of Justice, the evaluation agency of the Department of Justice. Clothing prices typically range from a few hundred dollars to about $7000.

When requested, Miguel Caballero clients have "tested" the clothing by having a salesperson fire a weapon at them.

Caballero has a group of clients whose lives have been saved by the bullet resistant clothing. This group has been dubbed "The Survivors Club."


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