LA menswear retailer struggling to cope with demand for notorious El Chapo's shirts

Thousands of orders are piling in for garments worn by the infamous drug lord's Rolling Stone interview with Sean Penn

El Chapo, Jaoquin Guzman, Sean Penn, Mexico, Barabas, Rolling Stone, Shirt

Actor Sean Penn shaking hands with El Chapo, a drug lord linked to the deaths of 34,000 people [Rolling Stone]

A manager of a small Los Angeles menswear retailer has described her business as being “paralysed” by the huge demand for orders of the shirts worn by Mexican drug kingpin Jaoquín Guzman, better known by his infamous nickname El Chapo. The two brightly patterned shirts were featured in the now notorious Rolling Stone article in which actor Sean Penn interviewed the drug lord.

Tatiana Kivachook said that Barabas website has been inundated with thousands of emails from all over the world and that the phone is ringing off the hook as sartorially-clueless men all over the world rush to purchase one of the shirts. According to Mashable, orders have come in from the UK, France, Germany, Australia, and Bulgaria.

The shirts rose to fame earlier this month when Sean Penn was pictured shaking the hand of the criminal mastermind, linked to the deaths of as many as 34,000 people, while wearing one. The actor, whose interview was widely panned after Rolling Stone guaranteed Guzman the right to read it before publication. The shirts became pop culture ephemera and are now being sold as the El Chapo Fantasy Button-Down and the El Chapo Crazy Paisley Button-Down.

Both shirts retail for $128 (€118) and have been back-ordered into February. Barabas is donating 5% all sales to DARE, a drug abuse resistance education charity.

"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 said. "In the second week, we were trying to move and fill in the orders, and get extra people and extra hands now in the third week. Honestly, it was insane, no one could expect it."

While some critics have chastised the company for attempting to profit from the criminal activities of the Mexican drug lord, who was captured by police shortly before Rolling Stone published the article, the company has been quick to distance itself from any connection with him – albeit in a rather tongue-in-cheek way.

 

"This is a surprise challenge. We're trying to bring something good to the public, not only good clothes but good intentions and changing the world," Kivachook said.

El Chapo's style has found at least one celebrity fan, with Irish MMA superstar Conor McGregor seen sporting a similar shirt during his staredown with Rafael Dos Anjos on January 20th. 

[H/T: Mashable]

For more world news on Newstalk.com, please click here.