By JORGE A. VELA Laredo Morning Times
LAREDO, Texas (AP) — One local luchador is using his fame in the ring and his skills as a tailor by trade to bring to life some pride for the Mexican Lucha during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Local wrestler El Universitario — which he prefers to be identified as to protect his true identity from the public — is doing this by making customizable face masks of legendary Mexican wrestlers Blue Demon, El Santo and Mil Mascaras.
“Since I don’t wrestle much anymore, and I am a tailor that makes all types of clothes for men and women and also professional luchador masks as well for selling, I decided to try this and see if it would work as I saw many people trying to sell customizable facemasks for a business,” El Universitario told the Laredo Morning Times. “I wouldn’t say that the business has made me any much richer overnight, but it has definitely allowed me to have a good business going.”
Business has been steady, and he works almost every day. El Universitario says his prices are reasonable and vary depending on the masks. His most common facemasks, which are the traditional common luchador design and white color, are sold at three masks for $10. However, for more complex orders that involve more detail such as one of Blue Demon, the masks can be around $30.
“Due to the fact that all the masks I sell are done so via an order, I don’t really have any assistance to make them,” El Universitario said. “Therefore, if someone orders a mask, I just take it down and do it for them by the next day if they wish of their favorite wrestler.”
Usually it takes him about an hour to finish each mask as he must cut and mold the facemask perfectly to its design.
He is proud to offer something unique to the city he doesn’t see other tailors producing. While there is competition in Nuevo Laredo, he has not seen any in the Gateway City.
“Everyone that gets one of my face masks is deeply thrilled with the product as it is exactly what they wanted and also represents a part of their Hispanic heritage as well, and they want to show off their favorite luchador,” he said.
While the coronavirus was the reason he began making the masks, he plans to continue making them after the pandemic.
“I think I will continue selling this items because any luchador fan will be continue to want this type of product just for usage even after the pandemic is over and there are few people who can make these types of masks here locally,” El Universitario said.
One customer that has known the wrestler for a long time claims that the face masks are great in style and quality.
“The face masks are great,” Vicki Aguilar said. “When this virus hit elastic was in short supply, and I reached out to him and he had me ask to go for some. That is when I saw him sewing the luchador facemasks. He is very talented and a humble man, and his talent as a tailor is beyond perfect.”
Aguilar continues to promote the face masks and tells people to continue buying them if they like lucha. El Universitario said he is ready for any order just as he was ready to jump into the ring many times before.
Anyone interested in purchasing face masks from El Universitario can message him on his Facebook page “Universitario Pa Siempre” or call his business phone number at (956) 602-4164.