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For exhibit 3,862 that our world is accelerating toward apocalypse, witness the launch of Anxo, the Miami-based line of bulletproof clothing for civilians. Its slogan (and we can't make this shit up): "Our promise: You won't be a victim of fashion."
"It's horrifying," cofounder Eric Dominguez, a Los Angeles native with a whoa-dude demeanor, readily admits. "When we were first exploring the concept, I thought, Who the heck would want bulletproof clothing? But, oh my God, the interest has been just insane — so powerful."
In Anxo's spare offices on Miami's industrial NW 31st Street, a dozen of the "Bond-inspired" garments hang on racks — soft Italian leather jackets, sleek white button-downs, a tailored women's pea coat, a refined pleated guayabera. It's impossible to tell that each is fitted with layers of hybrid bullet- or knife-proof materials far lighter and stronger than Kevlar. On a boardroom table, shredded samples sit next to spent pistol slugs.
Bulletproof clothing is not an original phenomenon, of course. In narco-ruled provinces of Latin America, where the upper classes often travel with bodyguards, everyday bullet-resistance is all the rage, with several labels popping up to fill the niche.
Depending on where you live in ever-more-violent Miami-Dade County, bulletproof clothing could also come in handy.
Dominguez doesn't give out his clients' names, but in the two months since the launch, he says buyers have included rappers, Latin American politicians, and bank managers. Terrifyingly, he even had an inquiry from a British manufacturer looking to stab-proof a line of children's school uniforms.
And though Dominguez runs background checks on prospective buyers (it's illegal for felons to buy bulletproof accessories), it's easy to see why these garments, with price tags ranging from $2,000 to $4,000, might appeal to those in the upper echelons of the global powdered-energy industry. "We know it's going to end up in the wrong hands someday," Dominguez allows. "All we can do is our due diligence."
For now, the Miami office has had more international business than local, but you could say Dominguez is hopeful. "In America, we don't have the need for it yet," he says. "It's coming, though — fast