Two years ago, Tony Lopez was a gang member. Today, the Fresno native is the owner and creator of Armor of Faith Apparel, a clothing line based on his faith in Christianity.
Lopez told Your Central Valley that he got caught up in gang life at the age of 14, quickly learning to participate in drug use and violence.
However, in 2015, the California man had a change of heart. “This was just something God placed in my heart and I ran with it,” he said. The result was a product line based on his newfound faith.
Lopez produces hats, beanies and crew neck t-shirts with his original ‘Faith’ logo, the T in the word designed as to resemble the cross of Jesus Christ. The shirts also include an electrocardiographic heartbeat symbol, which he said represents living in faith, while the text ‘John 3:65’ is an allusion to Jesus’s declaration as “the bread of life,” Lopez said, according to Your Central Valley.
The caps, shirts and beanies come in various color patterns. Beanies and crew neck shirts are sold for $20, hats are sold for $26.
He said he experiences a spiritual connection to every customer who purchases his products which feature chakra colors. Lopez is currently in the process of creating a website to sell his apparel. He currently has a page on Facebook titled Armor of Faith Apparel, where he sells his products, and attends local events to raise brand awareness.
“It’s more than just apparel, it’s a message to the world,” he said on his Facebook page for his apparel.
Lopez, however, is not the first gang member-turned-Christian clothing line designer.
In June 2016, WLTX reported on a South Carolina man who gave up gang life to become a Christian rapper, preacher and clothing line owner. Shawn Green, a Columbia resident who had been involved in gangs since he was 13, said after the night in 2007 that he was arrested for drug trafficking and firearm possession, he struck a deal with God, claiming that he would open a bible verse and decide if it made sense to him or not. If it did, he would believe. If it didn’t, he would give up. After opening the bible and discovering the passage 2 Corinthians 7-8, he began crying “because [he] felt the love of God.”
After serving two years and eight months of his three year sentence and being released, Green launched a ministry called Christ Hop, where he preaches on a regular basis to new audiences. He also sells clothes through Christ Hop Apparel, and recorded a Christian rap song called “God is my plug.”
“You gotta understand how great God, how perfect his pen is, when he’s writing your life story,” Green said, according to WLTX.