CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Young people are strapping on fake bulletproof vests as fashion statements. But not everyone sees "tactical" as practical.
Inside “Exclusive,” an urban clothing store on Short Vine, hanging alongside torn jeans and colorful kicks, you'll find fashion tactical gear.
“There are really no boundaries and no holds barred with fashion,” said Exclusive’s Jay Davis. “So, this is what they want. So let me go ahead and give it to them.”
The trend emerged in the early '00s when rapper 50 Cent wore one. It re-emerged in the spring with rapper Meek Mill wearing one while performing at the NBA All-Star game. And while it’s still to be seen how quickly the faux tactical vests will continue to fly off the shelves, even store management is a little unsure of how they feel about selling them.
“I was against getting them,” said Davis. “But the demand was so high, it really did force my hand and order them and pick the item up. That’s what I’m here for –- I have to supply the demand of the fashion.”
Davis isn't alone; just enter "fake bulletproof vests" on Amazon. You'll find them all over, ranging from $50 to about $150. Even Louis Vuitton sells one. None of them actually provide protection. It's all about the look.
Twenty-year-old Xavian Bolden thought of picking one up.
“I was gonna get a yellow one with all white Forces (shoes). Get me some rock star pants. Feel me?" said Bolden.
Local 12 caught up with him at City Heights Market where the manager says he's not too thrilled with the fashion statement.
“I’ll be worried [if someone walked in with one],” said manager Sam Tibtani. “Why? You know, I’d rather not to see that.”
Bolden says he decided against investing in tactical wear. He would choose function over fashion.
“If I’m gonna wear a vest, I’m gonna wear one that’s gonna protect me. I ain’t gonna wear it for the style,” he said.
Back at Exclusive, the trend has died down. While they say they're glad in some ways, they also say it would be nice if the trend got hot again just long enough for them to clear the rack.
Local 12 called several schools and police departments in the area, and they say they haven't seen enough of the vests to comment.