There’s already quite the pedigree when it comes to bespoke tailoring and the thread of clientele it attracts. Needless to say, custom and quality don’t come cheap. At Garrison Bespoke (showroom gallery above), Wellington St. East’s luxury bespoke menswear boutique, some of their more adventurous clients had an idea to take one of the dress suits to the next level…
“After receiving requests from high-profile clients who travel to dangerous places for work, we set out to develop a lightweight, fashion-forward bulletproof suit as a more discreet and stylish alternative to wearing a bulky vest underneath,” said Michael Nguyen, co-owner and bespoke tailor of Garrison Bespoke.
The bulletproof suit by Garrison Bespoke, a first of its kind, is as unassuming as it is stylish, employing a lining made with carbon nanotubes originally developed to protect the US 19th Special Forces in Iraq. Thinner, more flexible, and 50 per cent lighter than Kevlar, it would be nearly impossible to decipher Garrison’s bulletproof suit from another without touching it.
Designed to withstand the penetrating impact of a 9mm round, I was on hand for the live demonstration the other day at the Ajax Rod & Gun Club. Several shots with a .22 caliber revolver as well as a police issue Glock 9mm .40 caliber handgun later and it was time to rip open the vest and see the results.
Bullet holes could be seen dotting the exterior fabric of the pinstripe suit, but would they tear the inner fabric? Remarkably, with only a few thin layers of the carbon nanotube lining, none of the bullets penetrated past the inside layer of the vest.
Contracting to disperse the impact, the nanotubes become 30 times stronger than steel. Aside from a bullet, the custom made three-piece suits are able to take the force of a hunter’s blade as well as glass or metal shards that could be the result of an explosion. Nguyen and his partner David Tran, Director of Special Projects who sourced the material, needed to use a band saw in order to cut individual pieces of the fabric.
Though serious bruising, or even internal bleeding, could still result from a wearer being shot, the aim, according to Nguyen, is to give the subject a “chance to escape.” Though I have no intention of involving myself in a possible assassination attempt anytime soon, I’d settle for my life over a few painful bruises. And for $20,000 a pop, there’s a mounting list of customers who seem to be thinking along the same lines.