Inner wear

The New Lifesaving Garment of Mumbai

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After the November terror, it became a discreet part of clothing in the city. An increasing number of peo­ple here are wearing bulletproof vests under their office clothes. Siddharth Saha, a business executive, got an im­ported one. “I wear it whenever I am out. Initially, I was conscious. Now, it’s become a part of my wardrobe,” he says.

Others have discovered they don’t need to import such a vest. A local com­pany, Magnaera, has been doing brisk sales of bulletproof inner wear, wom­en’s jackets, winter coats and even dog wear. The basic material is sourced from the US and the finished product costs between Rs 40,000 and Rs 1.2 lakh. Owner Rahul More will not give out de­tails as that will encourage competition.
“In the past seven months, I have sold about 30 bulletproof items to wom­en,” says More. But this is just a frac­tion of the 10,000 such items he has sold over the past year. Most of his custom­ers are men, chiefly lawyers, financiers and real estate developers. “Since bullet­proof wear blends with regular clothes, it’s a hit. Those who wear it do not want anyone else to know about it,” he says.
In 2004, when the company set up base at Dombivli in Maharashtra, its clothes were designed to protect against small weapons of 9 mm calibre. “Since 26/11, designs have been upgraded for protection from self-loading rifles, AK47s and armour-piercing bullets,” says More. His biggest challenge is de­signing for shapely women. Making a ladies’ jacket for protection from high calibre weapons isn’t easy, he says.
He usually checks the background of his customers as he does not want the bulletproof clothing to “fall into wrong hands”. Magnaera’s products are test­ed and certified by the Government of India and, More says, made to the spec­ifications of the National Institute of Justice (US).