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Suit of Armor

Christina Garofalo

After receiving numerous requests from clients who travel to dangerous regions of the world for business, the 6-year-old Toronto tailoring house Garrison Bespoke has developed a custom bulletproof suit, and it currently has 25 clients waiting for their custom $20,000 suits.

“We are always thinking about how we can give a man a better experience, and make him perform better,” says David Tran, the head of special projects for the company. “Over the years, men who work high-risk jobs say that when they are on certain meetings, they are not as focused as they can be because they are nervous for their safety.”

It took six months of research and an estimated 400 hours of handwork to create the suit. Originally used to protect the U.S. Special Forces in Iraq, the patented bulletproof material—made using carbon nanotubes—lines the canvas of the suit, beneath the fabric, and hardens on impact to block a bullet or knife. It is thinner, more flexible, and 50 percent lighter than Kevlar—the full suit weighs just 2.5 pounds more than the average wool suit.

“The suit had to look sharply tailored and discreet, and it had to be comfortable,” says Tran. “We started by looking at Kevlar, which is usually used for bulletproofing, but it is too thick and rigid to accomplish any of our specifications.”

The shop’s team of five to seven tailors can create the suit in any fabric, using traditional English tailoring methods; from the outside, no one can tell the difference between their bulletproof and their unlined suits. Though it was designed, and is recommended, as a three-piece suit—with lining in the front of the vest and the back of the suit jacket—clients can request to have any piece in Garrison’s collection made with bulletproof lining. Other novel Garrison Bespoke creations include a waterproof suit and a suit threaded with crushed diamonds. (416.566.2041, www.garrisonbespoke.com

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Photo by Ted Morrison