Could someone please explain this to me. What’s the deal with camouflage? (Which I will now refer to as camo, because that “U” in the middle of camoUflage makes it hard to spell.) Seriously, how has it become such a widespread fashion print? When I was a child, I never remember seeing it besides the expected places, you know, like on soldiers and hunters. Then, sometime in the mid to late 1990s, the pattern started showing up on cargo pants everywhere. What could you possibly be hunting for? Or maybe you’re just trying to blend in. I still refused to accept that this was/is a good look.You may think that this fashion leaked out into the mainstream from rural state game lands. After a full day of hunting, men gather around the lodge and swap tips about how to best sneak up on a buck. At least, I assume this is what people talk about after hunting, it is a culture worlds away from mine. I hear people go to great lengths to get their hunting gear to a perfect scent, or lack of scent. So why would you ever wear your very specific perfect smelling sport clothes outside of the woods? I suppose its reasonable to assume that some of these men exclusively shop in the hunting section of Cabela’s. So now there is a large population of people who accept that camo is a good look both in the woods and at home. SIDENOTE: Do the hunters take off the orange safety stuff once they get to there spot? Whats the point of all the camo if you have a orange hat and vest that says “here I am!”? I guess animals can’t see orange. Anyway, how does this bold pattern break out of the woods and into your local Wal-Mart aisle? My guess is the military. I suspect that there is a strong correlation between the hobby of hunting and service in the military. I know not every service member is a hunter, just looking for a way to transition to another large population of people who are into wearing camo. Those who serve spend months at a time in their BDUs, of course they are going to come home and keep wearing parts of their uniform. From the homeless vet begging for change to the intercity youth spitting rhymes with his friend, for a clothing that is designed not to be seen, I seem to see it on almost every street corner. Speaking of a clothing pattern that is designed for invisibility, can we talk about the little Army camo SNAFU (literal Army talk for “Situation Normal, All Fucked Up”)? Turns out that the Uniform Camouflage Pattern (UCP) that the Army has been using for over a decade now is not so great. Seemingly in the haste to update a 25 year old pattern to better serve new desert and urban warfare, they decided to modify the Marines Pattern (MARPAT, not to be confused with MARY PAT). They dismissed the results of preliminary testing, and went with the worse performing pattern from the test. They justified using the pattern with no pure black because of a theory that pure black does not exist in nature and it stands out on night vision. Apparently the uniform was not field tested either, only tested with printed sheets of paper. Now when you go against proven testing, the results will not be successful. The uniform has been criticized for not hiding soldiers enough. The Army marked it down as a mistake, and a new (non pixelated) pattern has been developed and implemented in 2015 called the Scorpion W2. What a badass name to move on from that little SNAFU from 2004. Whoops. At least its better than the North Koreans. Anyway, back to how this pattern of many variations made it into pop culture. I’m starting to get how such a wide range of people have adopted this fashion. It was only a matter of time before this practical article of clothing escaped its intended purpose. Which brings up the argument, does fashion trickle up, or does it trickle down? Miranda Priestly in A Devil Wears Prada argued that it trickles down from the runway.
And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin.
– Miranda Lambert, fictional editor of Vogue I mean Runway Magazine
Now the legendary Coco Chanel on the other hand argued that fashion trickles up from the streets. And she’s a real life fashion icon. She made many arguments that fashion is rooted in the common people.
Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.
-Coco Chanel, Legendary Fashion Designer
And that, my friends, perfectly sums up why camo clothing spans all walks of life. It has trickled up and down the fashion ladder for decades now. Whether you’re a hunter of deer, a hunter of enemies, or a hunter of style, you all have one thing in common, you love the clash of a good camo print. Its an article of clothing that can be found anywhere, from the back-country woods to the urban jungle, from a dirty bum to a decorated soldier, from thrift store finds to runway fashion. Like a good pair of nude underwear, its utility seems boundless. Unlike a good pair of nude underwear, I won’t be buying any for myself in the near future.