It is a sleeveless black vest, precisely cut with leather buttons in the front. You can slip into this vest for an office meeting or a date. Priced at around Rs 2.5 lakh, the stylish ‘Nehru’ vest is not just another high-end fashion offering, while it adds sophistication to your persona, it can also save your life.
The designer vest, which is bullet-resistant, can shield your torso by stopping in their tracks firearm-fired projectiles and shrapnel from explosions. Weighing a little over two kgs, it can stop a 9 mm pistol’s bullet hurtling towards it with a speed of 381 meter/second. Produced by Miguel Caballero (MC), a Colombian firm specialising in bullet-resistant designer clothing, the vest is available for sale in Delhi and across the country via its sole distributor, Discrete Inners (DI).
“There might be several makers of bullet-proof vests in India, but only we retail bullet-proof fashion with Indian design sensibilities,” says DI’s owner Rohit Nath whose office is in south Delhi’s New Friends Colony. Nath employs a team of tailors who take a buyer’s measurements, which are then forwarded to MC’s headquarters in Bogota, Colombia. The finished products, vests or kurta-pyjama, are sent back by the Bogota unit.
Available in both silk and cotton, the jacket’s two bullet-resistant panels, which are sewn inside its front sides, comprise of layers of strong synthetic heat-resistant Aramid fibre, that mangles a bullet into a circular shaped junk. These designer bullet-resistant clothes come in unisex styles. The polo t-shirts, kurta-pyjama and vests (with or without sleeves) have two bullet-proof panels, one each in the front and back portions, the vests have three such protective layers.
Several high-profile politicians, including parliamentarians and top corporate honchos wear the special vest or kurta pyjama, according to DI’s officials and some users, who requested anonymity to protect their privacy.The list of their users includes those from the less high-profile section too: a flourishing construction contractor at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh (UP), a busy heart surgeon in an elite Jaipur hospital and even the principal of a private school in Karnataka. Among known users of the MC products worldwide are state heads and Hollywood actors.
“The Nehru vest provides safety, unobtrusively and without sacrificing style,” says a New Delhi resident who has bought ‘six’ such vests from DI. Aided by a patented technology the apparel can regulate the internal temperature to keep it at around 17 degree Celsius, says a DI official. “It is custom-built to stay cool in summer, warm during the winter and comfortable even on a humid day,” adds Nath. Nath says the demand for designer bullet-resistant Indian clothes including is growing in states with high crime rates like UP, Bihar, and Jharkhand, which account for 60-to-70% of their sales. “Since January 2009, when we began our operations in India, we have been selling between 50 and 60 bullet-proof designer apparel every year. Nearly 70% of our buyers are politicians who perceive a risk to their life and want to protect it discreetly,” says Nath. The firm is anticipating bulk orders from UP when the campaign trail for the assembly election scheduled next year. Nath says his company takes orders through credible references and after cross-checking the antecedents of a potential buyer. “I don’t sell to bad people,”says Nath. The other life savers