There's no denying how much impact the military has had on fashion. Staple pieces in every man's wardrobe operate with a battle-tested reliability, thus making certain items quite timeless. In the streetwear sector, camouflage has undoubtedly seen a pattern resurgence on everything from traditional cargo pants to the recently released Nike Roshe Run NM FB "Black Camo." Simply put, while the usage will have its ebbs and flows, the dynamic nature of the pattern, as well as the diversity in is appropriations, make it something that can always trick the eye in a different way.
The development of military camouflage was driven by the increasing range and accuracy of infantry firearms in the 19th century. Given the changing nature of warfare and the acknowledgment that "drab" uniforms were more adept at providing cover, the word "camouflage" probably comes from "camoufler" - a Parisian slang term meaning to disguise - and may also be inspired by the word "camouflet," which means "smoke blown in someone's face." At its core, camouflage is meant to hide various branches of the military, however, the need to be distinct has long-since been an issue throughout the world. Here's an exploration of some of the most popular forms of camouflage that have been employed in contemporary fashion.
Considered the basis for which all other forms of camo were created, it can be attributed to Major Denison of the British Army who formulated the idea of using large mop-like brushes to paint over a standard khaki-colored heavy cotton smock to create an effective camouflage for issue to British Army paratroopers operating behind enemy lines.
Pictured above is the Alpha Industries Maddox shirt jacket.
The Woodland pattern was the default camo for the U.S. military - including Marines, airmen and sailors - from 1981-2006. Seemingly identical to the ERDL pattern developed by the United States Army in 1948, the current pattern is actually an enlargement of the original as a means to make it more visible at a distance - avoiding "blobbing" where smaller areas of color seem to blend into larger clumps.
Pictured above is the Supreme Championship Football Jersey.
Tigerstripe refers to the family of camouflage designs developed in Southeast Asia (particularly the Republic of Vietnam) during the 1960s which were derived from the original French tenue du leopard or lizard design of the 1950s. The pattern incorporates bold black stripes over lesser brownish-drab stripes and light green trace elements, with an olive green base color - and was particularly effective in the bamboo-rich rainforests. U.S. Special Operations Forces such as the U.S. Navy SEALs and the Green Berets are still using tigerstripe camouflage in operations in Afghanistan.
Pictured above is the A.P.C. Tigerstripe jacket.
First introduced in the early 1960s and given to the British Special Forces only, the DPM Camouflage - short for Disruptive Pattern Material - remains a four-color pattern which uses a basic Western European temperate of black, dark brown, mid-green, and a dark sand despite being slightly reworked in 2000.
Pictured above is a British military surplus jacket.
The term "Flecktarn" was coined by German designers and is a blend of words fleck (spot) and Tarnung (camouflage). The most popular five-color version - consisting of dark green, light green, black, red brown, and green brown or tan depending on the manufacturer - is designed for use in temperate woodland terrain.
Pictured above is the Nike Air Max 1 Germany.
With the advancement in night-vision equipment, the Canadians turned to a computer-generated pattern to thwart their enemies. Rated best tropical and Temperate Camouflage by NATO soldiers in a recent scientific study, it shows a 40 percent less chance of being detected from 200 meters away with CADPAT Versus Olive Drab. In Major League Baseball this year, while every other team wore military-themed designs inspired by the U.S. Army, the Toronto Blue Jays donned caps and jerseys displaying a simulation of the Canadian Disruptive Pattern - but it’s actually illegal for non-military personnel to wear the patented computer-generated camouflage, so what the Jays wore was a simulated approximation.
Pictured above is the Billionaire Boys Club CADPAT backpack.
With its roots in the German flecktarn pattern which involved similar small dabs of color on a uniform to provide camouflage, with an updated digital presentation like its Canadian brothers, MARPAT is the U.S. Marine Corps answer to stealth. Combing through over 150 different camo patterns before selecting three samples that met their initial objectives, the MARPAT patent lists U.S. Army research into fractal pattern camouflage as the basis for their final result.
Pictured above is the Supreme x COMME des GARCONS coach jacket.
The term "chocolate chip" is a nickname for the six-color desert camouflage pattern originally developed by the United States in 1971. Initially used by U.S. military personnel serving in the Sinai, its most prevalent use was during Operation Desert Shield/Storm and later in deployments to Somalia. Consisting of blotches in two shades of mid-brown over larger areas of sand and tan, dotted "chip" shapes printed in black and off-white serve as the source of the camo's dessert-inspired nickname.
Pictured above is the U.S. Alteration Chocolate Chip Parka.
Distinctly different in shape and color than other camouflage choices, the water-inspired pattern employs vertical lines or "straits" and emerged out of the Warsaw Pact countries of Eastern Europe.
Pictured above is the Rogue Territory Raindrop trousers.
Used by the French military from 1947 to the late 1980s, the pattern features two overlapping prints - generally green and brown - and utilizes sweeping gaps so that a third dyed color presents an additional palette. The Tigerstripe pattern used during the Vietnam War is a distant relative to the French pattern - whose horizontal orientation is a definitive indicator of its origins.
Pictured above is a military surplus BDU lizard camo jacket.