Crime of Fashion

I did a double take last night. While enjoying the sounds of Sugar Hill Gang at an outdoor concert in Manhattan, I saw someone wearing a bullet-proof vest over a t-shirt. It was navy blue with a white star on the back. Is it real, I wondered. Is this guy so bad-ass that he's bold enough to make a public appearance, yet smart enough to protect himself from the dangerous people he associates with?

Or it it FASHION?

At home I turned to my faithful resource, The Internet, to discover that the Boston Herald recently ran a story about the latest trend in urban fashion, raid vests. Popular with teens, these fake bullet-proof vests cost about $50 and are made in leather, suede, nylon and denim.

The original designer of this cutting-edge apparel is Antonio Ansaldi. His web site offers the vest in several varieties for men (sorry ladies) and describes the popularity of the item:

The raid vest has been customized and worn by numerous celebrities and featured in several major motion pictures. The raid vest is continually reinvented by Antonio Ansaldi with different designs like the padded Millennium Raid Vest and Shearling Hooded Raid Vest.

Which celebrities? Which movies? Minor details to be sure. But I do remember back in 1999 when the popular rapper, Old Dirty Bastard was stopped for a traffic violation and then arrested for wearing a bullet proof vest. Apparently it's illegal for a convicted felon to wear body armor. This law follows the logic that if you're wearing a piece of clothing that protects you from bullets, there's a good chance that you are carrying a gun, a violation of parole.

While I've thought about adopting a more reckless lifestyle, I don't think I'll buy a raid vest anytime soon. 50 bucks would get me a bulky and uncomfortable garment that doesn't actually stop bullets. Plus, I don't have the closet space to spare.

David, Aug 26 2005 1:03PM

I can't wait until prison uniforms become fashionable.

The "Isolation/ Suicide Cell Smock #1" looks really hip.
mark, Aug 29 2005 11:12AM

those prison uniforms (and especially the isolation/suicide cell smock) are terrifying. another reason not to go to jail.