Scary-cool, Or Just Downright Scary?
Fashion trends come and go with the seasons. While the vast majority of them are harmless, with gaudy new looks hurting only the eyes of the beholder, one new trend could turn deadly.
This year younger generations have taken to dotting fake bulletproof vests of all things. Worn as fashion statements, this trend has seemingly taken off, with a growing trend that has some industry experts taking pause for alarm.
Not Tactical, Mockery
Bulletproof vests have long been worn by law enforcement, the military, first-line responders, and defense-aware civilians for hundreds of years. These personal protective accessories can mean the difference between life and death for these individuals, many of whom routinely put their own lives on the line to protect others. However, this new fashion trend makes a mockery (even if accidentally so) of those who so bravely defend us.
According to fashion insiders, several hip-hop stores have jumped on the bandwagon, advertising faux bulletproof vests as the new trendy item to have. But law enforcement is less impressed.
As reported by Detective Eddie Garcia, Jr. out of MacDill AFB, Florida, the district has recently spotted dozens of youth at festivals wearing such vests. This poses a few key problems that can put both the wearer and others at risk.
First, police officers and others may initially misidentify the wearer of such vests as local law enforcement or security guards at an event or store. According to some police officers, from a slight distance, these vests are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.
Apart from misidentification, the larger concern is that the presence of what appears to be body armor signals to law enforcement that this individual is ready and prepared for battle. You only wear a bullet proof vest if you have reason to believe you may be attacked or if you ARE the attacker.
This presumption is a logical one, and something that law enforcement officers and security guards are trained to spot. Thus, anyone wearing a vest that unknowingly makes a fast or sudden movement that could be construed as a progression towards a violent act, or towards unholstering what could be a gun, may result in unnecessary action by police, up to and including returning fire.
Why Do People Wear
Bullet Proof Vests As Fashion?
Who is to say what drives the invisible forces of fashion trends? However, more often than not, it is the media and celebrities that spark the flame, resulting in a trend that ripples throughout the general public, often taking hold among today’s youth first.
Notably, it is hip hop artists and rappers who have strapped on fake bulletproof vests (and real ones) as a fashion-forward statement. While some wear them for fear of actual threats, such as an attack on stage or at a record signing, others wear them as a symbol of the tough streets and rough life they used to lead, and that they so freely rap about.
The trend has been one that’s been brewing a while, but only having recently picked up steam again. It can be originally attributed to the infamous rapper 50 Cent, who was commonly seen wearing a bulletproof best throughout the 2000s. It is worth noting that the rapper may have done so out of fear of being shot rather than for its trendy look. After all, the rapper had been the victim of several prior shootings. More recently, Meek Mill was seen wearing a bulletproof vest at an NBA all-star game, with other entertainers and artists joining suit.
Fashion has always been seen as a ‘boundless’ artform of expression, and with the interest for ‘fake’ or ‘faux’ bulletproof vests on the rise, clothing stores both on and offline are eager to satisfy customer demand.
From Amazon to Louis Vuitton, it seems retailers are eager to cash in on the trend, with price points starting as low as $50 online.
That said, there are serious (and sometimes) dangerous considerations when contemplating the use of a fake bulletproof vest. Personal safety of yourself and others should not be reduced to a fashion statement, but respected and used in a manner that improves the safety or reduces the risk profile of those involved.
If you must wear a bulletproof vest, even for fashion, get the real thing. Choose the best of both worlds, offering function AND fashion.