Drug kingpin El Chapo drives demand for fashionable shirts

A man reads an article about drug lord Joaquin Guzman, aka 'El Chapo', showing a picture of him and actor Sean Penn, on the website of Rolling Stone magazine.
Alfredo Estrella | AFP | Getty Images

Celebrity endorsements for brands are not uncommon, however the face that sparked a recent purchasing frenzy for Barabas is quite unusual.

The Los Angeles men's clothing company saw a sudden boost in sales starting two weeks ago because of Joaquin Guzman, the Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The infamous criminal was photographed sporting fashion from Barabas for an article by "The Rolling Stone" magazine and suddenly the company was inundated with orders, according to the report.

Barabas, which employs only eight people, used to receive 10 to 20 orders a day. Now the company receives hundreds and has sold out of the two designs worn by El Chapo. The company expects its next shipment to arrive in early February.

Joaquin Guzman, the world's most wanted-drug trafficker, is escorted by Mexican security forces at a Navy hangar in Mexico City, on Friday.
Sean Penn's interview helped us catch El Chapo, say Mexican sources
Rising drug costs only 'getting worse': Expert
Novartis CEO, Joseph Jimenez (L), Pfizer CEO, Ian Read (C), and Eli Lilly & Co. CEO Dr. John Lechleiter (R).
CEOs: What's missing in the drug pricing debate

These shirts, which retail for $128 online, can go for as much as $500 on eBay, according to the LA Times.

Despite using El Chapo as a marketing tool—the company advertises its shirts as the "most wanted shirt" on its website—Barabas makes it clear that it is not affiliated with the Mexican drug lord.

"We have never met Joaquin Guzman, a.k.a. El Chapo," the company says on its homepage. "We can explain his apparently esthetic choice of shirts for the interview and the meeting with Sean Penn as an attribution of comfort, quality and style that Barabas shirt projects."

In fact, the company plans to donate 5 percent of all profits from the El Chapo shirts to the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, according to the website.

Read the full article by The Los Angeles Times.