A design icon and a style classic, camouflage, (or “Disruptive Pattern Material”, to give it its official title) is experiencing a fashion resurgence. Worn by London’s chic young things and reincarnated as haute couture for New York Fashion Week, camouflage will be an inimitable part of AW12.
Naturally, it was the style-inclined French who developed the use of camouflage during World War I. After suffering a severe mauling on the battlefield, the French military decided to trade in their unsubtle red knickers for stealthier attire, hand painted in early DPM patterns by the artists and designers (nicknamed “camoufleurs”) who had been drafted in to the front lines. By the 1960s DPM had become standard issue in militaries across the world, covering everything from weapons to the classic M65 field jacket. It was the 60’s that also saw camouflage make the jump from combat to catwalk. Andy Warhol re-imagined the pattern in vivid pop colours, transforming it from a symbol of war into a playful fashion print that was a damn sight edgier than its floral counterpart. Designers such as Stephen Sprouse, Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gaultier have made camouflage and military chic a staple look in wardrobes the world over.
We’ve collaborated with the connoisseur of camo, Mr. Nick Wooster on our new range of DPM inspired shorts: ideal for a foray into the wild or just a covert dip in the pool. We sat down over a well-worn copy of Hardy Blechman’s “Disruptive Pattern Material: An Encyclopedia of Camouflage” to discuss what makes DPM such a style icon.
You’re often seen wearing and using camouflage in new & sartorial ways. Where did your fascination with camouflage come from?
I guess it’s because I am not really interested in either war or hunting…the two places where camouflage is used. I sorta like the idea of taking something out of context and making it work for me.
Do you have a favourite camo pattern?
Probably, the leopard camo print from Zaire. It is, for me, one of the coolest patterns around. I also love the USA,Vietnam era “General Purpose” pattern. That’s what I call “normal camouflage”. The Swedish camo of dots is also really cool.
What’s been the most interesting use of camouflage in a fashion piece, up until now, obviously?
I am very fond of the Michael Bastian camo jacket and tie, that I started sporting a couple of summer’s ago.
In the collaboration with OB, why did you decide to use camouflage on the shorts?
Basically, because I hadn’t seen it before. I love idea of something made so beautifully, being executed with a camo pattern. Unfortunately, camo is far too frequently found in really cheap clothes.
Which are your favourite pair and what destination would you take them to?
My favourite pair is the SETTER in Military/Sahara. For me, this is the most versatile…and the one I can’t wait to wear. I think olive and khaki go with everything. I will wear them on Fire Island…and also, to the gym. Actually, maybe I’ll wear the BULLDOG to the gym.
So, where to wear the Wooster Camo? We’ve put together a guide to three difficult to spot destinations where you can get a good taste of adventure – whether you choose to blend in with the surroundings, or do as Mr. Wooster would and make a bold fashion statement.
UPS Standard (2-5 Business Days) $10.00
UPS Express (2-3 Business Days) $15.00
UPS Next Business Day $50.00
UPS Standard (2-5 Business Days) $17.00
UPS Standard (3-5 Business Days) $60.00
UPS Standard (4-5 Business Days) $90.00
UPS Standard (4-5 Business Days) $90.00
UPS Standard (3-5 Business Days) $100.00
UPS Standard (4-5 Business Days) $150.00
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