How these Toronto tailors invented a bespoke bulletproof suit

Caters to a niche clientele in mining, energy and finance who travel to unsafe countries

Bulletproof suit by Garrison Bespoke

Toronto’s Garrison Bespoke tailors collaborated with a U.S. military contractor to develop their bulletproof suit. (Therese de Jesus/Garrison Bespoke)

Bulletproof vests are bulky, obvious and definitely unstylish. Thankfully, the well-dressed men at Toronto tailor shop Garrison Bespoke did something about it. They created a custom three-piece bulletproof suit that shields while looking so sharp and slick, James Bond would be jealous.

Since its unveiling in November, the suit has attracted a niche clientele among executives in the mining, oil and finance industries. They don’t necessarily walk into gunfights, but they do travel to unfamiliar parts of the world that make them just a little bit anxious.

The tailors collaborated with an American military contractor to get their hands on the same technology used by the U.S. Special Forces in Iraq. Maxwell Morgan, CEO of Aramor Payments, was one of the first to buy the garment. As a family man who travels a lot, he was looking for peace of mind. “People can tell if you’re tense in meetings,” says Morgan. “This suit makes me feel comfortable and keeps me looking sharp.”

The suit runs for a cool $20,000. At last check, the waiting list stood at about 22 orders. Here’s how they built the bulletproof suit:

State-of-the-art nanotechnology

Carbon nanotubes look and feel like cotton thread but behave like steel. After being tightly packed together, the nanotubes are woven into the back of the jacket and inside the front of the vest (which always stays buttoned). There are three specific layers to the protective fabric: the first sheet stops penetration, the second disperses kinetic energy and the third reduces body trauma.

Discreet and Comfortable

The material is not much thicker than a finger-width and only adds an extra kilogram to the suit. (Compare that to Kevlar, which is 50% heavier.) The armour is strategically placed in the front of the vest and the back of the jacket, so the wearer stays cool while keeping all his vital organs protected. Since it’s the vest that contains the front protection, the wearer can put his hand in the pockets and unbutton the jacket without tipping off his secret.

Made (Top Secret) in Canada

In designing the jacket, the tailors first tried being creative with Kevlar by masking its bulk with texture and colour. But it was still like “putting makeup on a pig,” says marketing chief David Tran, so carbon nanotubes were used instead. Assembled in Toronto, the suit took six months to develop.

Tailor showing off carbon nanotube layer in a suit

The suit uses a carbon nanotube weave to stop bullets and reduce injury. (Therese de Jesus/Garrison Bespoke)