"El Chapo" Shirts Are Flying Off the Shelves at $128 (and Reselling for More)
By Krystal Steinmetz
Barabas, a Los Angeles-based men's clothing company, has been clobbered with unprecedented demand for two of its $128 shirts, and it has this individual to thank for its overnight success: Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.
According to the Los Angeles Times, immediately after photographs of the drug kingpin wearing two different Barabas shirts were published in Rolling Stone magazine in early January, the orders for the shirts started piling up.
Barabas went overnight from receiving 10 to 20 orders per day to hundreds of orders per day. In fact, the company's website crashed due to the overwhelming flood of orders.
"This sudden madness — I cannot call it anything different," Tatiana Kivachook, vice president of Barabas, told the newspaper. Kivachook runs the clothing company with her husband, Sam Esteghball.
The now famous "El Chapo" shirts are both blue, long-sleeved, button-down shirts. One has a paisley pattern and one features a floral design.
Although they sell for $128 each on the Barabas website, some sellers have listed the shirts for as much as $500 on eBay. The Barabas website said the company is donating 5 percent of the profits from sales of the two "El Chapo" shirts to the Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E..
Barabas – a company with just eight employees – has struggled to keep up with global demand for the shirts, which are currently on back order, but the Barabas website said the shirts should be shipped by Feb. 5.
"It's actually been extremely rough. From one point, of course we're very, very excited, but our business was paralyzed through the first week because of all the interviews and demand," Kivachook told Mashable.
Although the infamous drug lord's fashion triggered overnight success for Barabas, the company maintains that it has no ties to the criminal.
"We have never met Joaquin Guzman, a.k.a. El Chapo," the company says on its home page. "We can explain his apparently esthetic choice of shirts for the interview and the meeting with Sean Penn as an attribution of comfort, quality and style that Barabas shirt projects."
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