August 22, 2019
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The Mexican clothing brand named after El Chapo

By Mariana González

Guadalajara, Mexico, Jul 17 (efe-epa).- Mexican drug lord Joaquín Guzmán, better known as El Chapo, who was handed a life sentence Wednesday by a court in the United States, is the indisputable star of a clothing brand whose items went on sale for the first time in the city of Guadalajara.

The name of the clothing and accessories line, El Chapo 701, is a hybrid of the mafia boss’ nickname and his place in a Forbes’ list of the richest men in the world.

There is a family link too, as the range was designed by El Chapo’s daughter, Alejandrina Guzmán.

A spokesperson for the brand, Gilberto de Anda, told Efe the brand is actually 13 years old but at the Intermoda fashion convention it was the first time its 19 designs have been shown as a collection for members of the public to buy.

De Anda said El Chapo’s daughter, who came up with the idea to make use of her father’s image as part of the brand, and who sold the rights to a company in Guadalajara to take care of distribution to clothing stores.

The spokesperson said people had shown an interest in the brand out of “morbidness” and the judicial process Guzmán faced for drug trafficking and money laundering in the US had nothing to do with the brand.

“Of course it awakens (morbidness), and also morbidness sells,” added de Anda. “But it doesn’t interest us.”

Dozens of curious onlookers have been sidling up to the space at the brand’s booth at Intermoda, some of them incredulous, others buying the odd accessory. One visitor jested if the shop was only selling clothes or if weapons were also for sale.

The face of the infamous leader of the Sinaloa Cartel makes an appearance on the walls of the stand, on the clothes and on the boxes the items are stored in.

His story is briefly outlined on tags attached to each garment that describe the convict as “a humble orange seller” and a “willing and attentive leader.”

The clothing collection features jackets for men and women, shirts and blouses, while accessories include belts, wallets, bracelets and decanters that, according to the brand, are made by inmates at Puente Grande, from where El Chapo escaped in 2001.

Items start from 701 pesos ($37) and go up to 15,000 pesos ($790).

“The main idea is to raise funds for a civil association that’s being formed and commercialized, all the profits made from it go into a fund for Puente Grande. It’s giving money to the people, it’s helping them so those who fall into the misfortune of drugs benefit,” said de Anda, highlighting the firm’s philanthropic end.

Adriana Ituarte, head of sales, told Efe the clothing line has “exclusive designs” and that all the pieces are designed and made in Mexico, separating the brand from any link to Guzmán.

“We’re taking it as a character, it’s a person who sells, it’s a brand. And if they let us work, here we are,” she said.

The Mexican brand found its first buyers from the US at Intermoda, and it hopes to consolidate this further.

Caty Mendoza, the owner of the Ladyboss boutique in California, has bought the rights to distribute the brand’s clothing.

She told Efe she was attracted by the quality and design of the items, as well as the concept of the money going towards helping prisoners.

She didn’t think the sentence handed out to El Chapo in the US would affect sales because the process was not linked to the business. EFE-EPA

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Related content

El Chapo sentenced to life for drug trafficking by New York judge

New York, Jul 17 (efe-epa).- Mexican drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán has been sentenced to life imprisonment on Wednesday plus 30 years.

The sentence was passed by a federal judge in New York, ending a long process judicial which began with his arrest in Mexico in 2016 and his subsequent extradition to the United States.

El Chapo, 62, had already been convicted in February by a jury of the 10 charges he faced, including participation in a criminal enterprise and drug trafficking.

Judge Brian Cogan, of a court in Brooklyn, accepted the recommendations of the US Attorney's Office and sentenced him to one of eight life sentences, as established by law, for running a criminal organization.

The additional 30 years were for unlawful uses of firearms.

El Chapo was allowed to address the court before starting his life sentence.

He said through an interpreter that his imprisonment amounted to "psychological, emotional, mental torture 24 hours a day".

The Mexican, who has been held in a federal prison in Manhattan, considered one of the safest in the US, faced a three-month judicial process.

A total of 56 witnesses gave evidence during the trial, including former associates and employees, and after six days of deliberations the jury found him guilty on February 12.

After being extradited 30 months ago, he will spend the rest of his life in prison in the US. EFE-EPA

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