Fashionable and practical - two words that could describe a line of men's clothes recently shown at Medellín, Colombia's Colombiamoda 2014 international fashion show. A line of anti-ballistic clothing — hoodies, t-shirts and polo shirts —also offers varying levels of above-the-waist protection from knife and blade cuts, bullets and abrasion, like falling from a motorcycle.
Neil Gallagher, an American designer and co-founder of clothing brand Miguelo Romano, said to Colombia Reports he first thought of protective clothing after being stabbed in a Philadelphia street and later seeing New York City bouncers wearing bulletproof vests.
The brand has been harnessing the hip-hop audience of artists like pacifist rapper El Duke - one of several musicians slain in Colombia for promoting peace - as well as Radio MC, another popular Colombian artist whose message is rooted in harmony and respect.
“A lot of residents have struggled with this culture of violence that’s persisted for the past decade - the brand represents the people’s struggle to be able to achieve something much better in life,” said Miguelo Romano co-founder Michael Puscar to NBC News.
The brand will debut its online store August 1 and a storefront in Medellin in mid-August. The brand plans to expand with a women’s line in 2015.
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— Natalie Daher