Handcuffs and toy guns decorate a jacket layered atop a dress made of fake money, during a student competition to craft fashions inspired by the effects of the drug trade on Mexican culture, at the IberoAmerican University in Mexico City on March 16, 2016. About 200 fashion design and textile students participated in the two-hour competition, building outfits featuring skulls, fake blood and syringes. (Rebecca Blackwell, AP)

Inside Mexico City’s ‘narco’ fashion aesthetic: Pistols, rhinestones, skulls

Skulls, spattered blood highlight works by fashion program meant to show the effects of the drug trade on nation's culture

MEXICO CITY — About 200 fashion design students at Mexico City’s IberoAmerican University have opened a show of dozens of dresses and other clothes examining the effects of the drug trade on Mexican culture.

Rhinestones, pistols, spattered blood, skulls and marijuana leaves are prominent among the designs, displayed on mannequins at the school’s campus.

Some of the dresses are demure — although there’s a party dress with a pistol tucked in a sash. Another dress features the colors of the Mexican flag drenched in fake blood.

The show’s goal, in fashion student Sofia Redondo’s words, is “to explain the world of drug trafficking with fashion, and show how it is affecting Mexican culture.”

Some Mexicans have adopted fashions popular among drug traffickers, ranging from polo shirts to embroidered caps.