Last updateFri, 27 Nov 2020 10am

I’m wearing El Chapo

Once the leader of a murderous drug cartel in Mexico, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was convicted last month, after a high-profile trial, of running a continuing criminal enterprise and other drug-related charges.

This trove of publicity has been channeled into a line of El Chapo-branded clothing – complete with the convicted drug lord’s name and signature. It is another clever way to add to what marketers call “brand extension.”


From his cell in a Manhattan federal prison, El Chapo signed a contract granting the rights to his name and signature to a limited liability company, or LLC, that will be headed up by his wife, Emma Coronel. His appearance at the contract signing was noteworthy:  El Chapo was adorned in an orange one-piece suit, fashionably baggy and striking a pose of kingly majesty in his tasteful plastic flip-flops.

According to his lawyer it was a lifelong wish. “It’s based on conversations that [the family] had many years ago. It’s something that they always wanted to do,” El Chapo’s lawyer explained to international fashionistas.

And the response has been explosive: “When? OMG! When? When?” you could hear from hemisphere to hemisphere. The ooohs and ahhhs are already wafting among the rich and famous, and the clothing industry is radioactive with anticipation. Finally, El Chapo will give us something to cherish and even hand down to descendants, fashions that will be timeless, if you do not mind buying your pants by the kilo.

Remember, El Chapo is an affectionate Spanish slang for Shorty. So beware, the sizes might be chico, extra-chico and “Sit down, I hate talking to belt buckles.”

I’m only guessing, but the first line of El Chapo might feature a lovely faux body armour design with must-have fashion accessories such as parasols tipped with stilettos, scarves themed with flesh wound stains or skull fractures, handbags with a bump stock handle, belts with subtle suggestions of  bandoliers.  Nothing like this has ever been imagined before. The company is officially called El Chapo Guzman: JGL LLC, and the initial clothing line launch will be this summer, which means it might offer interesting fall garments and accessories, and the perfect go-to apparel for Day of the Dead.

It’s the exciting and daring fulfillment of El Chapo’s life-long dream.  Drugs were always just a sideline until he could realize his real ambition. His own brand of clothing on the bodies (alive or dead, doesn’t matter, just don’t miss a lingerie payment) of people around the world, talked-about clothing that starts interesting conversations about always following your dreams, no matter how many life sentences you have. Especially when you know in your heart, as El Chapo claimed, that he was “framed by an international conspiracy.”

Never forget, your fashion choices tell the world something about you. Dulce-Gabanna says you are modern and exciting. Versace tells the world you are chic and escape the bounds of the ordinary. Armani says, I’m hot and avant garde. Hilfinger says, I’m sick and tired of anything Italian.

El Chapo tells the world you are “dressed to kill.”