The garish shirt worn by drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán in his interview with Sean Penn is reportedly flying off the shelves.
Demand for the shirt, which is sold by Los Angeles-based retailer Barabas, was so high on Monday that the company’s website crashed, said Tatiana Kivachook, a company official.
“The sales are crazy,” she said.
Kivachook told Fusion it’s unclear if Guzmán was wearing a real or knockoff version of the shirt, which she said is designed by the company. The shirt retails for $128.
Barabas appears to be a popular brand with fans of “narco-culture.” Among the pictures on the company’s Facebook page is one of a Mexican singer known as “El Komander,” whose songs glorify Mexico’s drug lords.
Kivachook dismissed any suggestion the company was looking to profit from the glorification of the drug trade. “Under no circumstance do we support any criminal organization,” she said. “We are in the business of design, and our shirts are artistic.”
However, she said she didn’t have any problems invoking El Chapo to help boost sales. “Any other brand would do the same, we are just recognizing someone famous wore the shirt,” she said.
Despite the shirt’s apparent popularity, some are lashing out at Barabas:
Others are taking it with humor:
It’s not the first time a company has sought to make a quick buck with Chapo in the news. When he escaped from prison in July, sales of El Chapo T-shirts and mechandise soared in Mexico and parts of the U.S.
Guzmán himself seems to recognize his brand value.
Mexican officials said while he was on the lam, Guzmán contacted actors and producers to do a biopic on his life. Mexican journalist Carlos Loret De Mola reports Chapo also instructed his lawyers to trademark his name.