Here’s a little news you can use: A few months ago, London retail giant Harrods began selling a new line of bulletproof clothing from designer Miguel Caballero. Talk about performance benefits! Move over, moisture-wicking. This is so James Bond.
It can resist Uzi shots. I have nothing more to say about that special feature, other than to emphasize: It can resist Uzi shots.
The catch? The polo costs $12,000. But something tells me that if you’re in the position to be shot at more than once—predicaments which would necessitate the use of a bulletproof polo shirt—it might be worth it. Think price-per-wear.
In a world where our president-elect had to deliver his acceptance speech behind walls of bulletproof glass, you just can’t put a price on survival. Can we get President Obama an entire wardrobe of these things, stat? I’m not even being facetious (although I'm pretty sure the first line of this paragraph could be used in the theatrical trailer for whatever Vin Diesel's next gem might be.)
Let's imagine, if you will, the testing process for this item. I don’t care if they said the polo could repel a nuclear holocaust, there’s absolutely no way I’d ever be the first person to wear it. They must have one heck of a salesperson. Then again, maybe even a potentially bulletproof polo is better than nothing at all for peace of mind. Clearly, the people who would even consider buying this live a way more dangerous life than you or I. Actually, I'll only speak for myself. I don't know what kind of risks you take when you're not reading this blog.
Well, I can go on like this all day, but I’ll get to the point. For December’s Tech Talk on alternative fabrics, I interviewed sustainability strategist Summer Rayne Oakes. During our chat, she mentioned many of the new fabrics coming out now (be they eco-friendly, recycled or man-made substitutions) were actually developed in the 1950s and 60s for military research purposes. The typical timetable for these materials to be commercialized, she said, is about 20 to 30 years.
So if we extend this a bit to include bulletproof items (like the aforementioned polo shirt), what are the odds this fabric could get to the people who could really, really use it in the line of duty? Right now Caballero’s line seems to be the domain of the rich and famous (and probably a few evil dictators, should I venture a guess). Will Kevlar vests fall by the wayside come 2040 in favor of lightweight bulletproof button-downs? Only time will tell.
But don’t expect it to become a promotional item until it’s washable, anti-microbial, and yes, moisture-wicking, too. I can imagine dodging gunfire might cause one to work up a bit of a sweat.
P.S. More info on the BPA issue, in case you’re interested.