For 20 years, Miguel Caballero has been working in the body armor industry – a profession he began while working on a project as a business administration student in his native Colombia. His mother had paid $10 for his first manufactured garment: a comfortable – and safe – leather jacket.
“One of our colleagues didn’t have a bodyguard, and didn’t wear any body armor as he found it uncomfortable to wear. That sparked my idea to create light, yet protective clothing,” Caballero tells Metro.
Caballero, whose business is based in Mexico City, says that the United States is his main client. In the wake of recent school attacks in the US, Caballero reworked his safety apparel for adult to cater for schoolchildren: he offers bulletproof T-shirts, vests and backpacks, many of which at first glance resemble everyday clothes.
Caballero arrived to Mexico eight years and says that there people have forged many of his products, resulting in shoddy knock-offs.
“Many have tried to copy us, get falsified certifications. They are putting human lives at risk by getting to do what they cannot do.”
Caballero’s clients include state governors, local police, militarymen and corporate professionals – but there has been criticism over allegations that his bulletproof products were used by criminals.
“I do not know of any unauthorized third party that may have gotten their hands on our products”, Caballero says, adding that he has background check of his clients and only sells products to those without a criminal record.
Some of Caballero’s clients include: US actor Steven Seagal, Spanish jurist and current head of Julian Assange’s legal team Baltasar Garzón, Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and current Nicolás Maduro.
Miguelcaballero.com sells to clients in 23 countries; has 300 employees. In Latin America, Caballero sells to all countries, in Europe four, while in the Middle East his main clients are Arab sheiks.