From Battlefields to Catwalks

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"From Battlefields to Catwalks." A Short Essay on the Camo Trend. Date completed: February 2012. Brief - Personal Essay. The recent camouflage, army-esque fashion trend which emerged from the street styles of pop icons and bloggers alike has triggered a wave of men and women to parade about in camo-jackets, distressed parkas, and chunky military boots. But where and why did the art of modern camouflage first emerge? Its first intention was certainly not to satisfy the ever-changing wardrobe tastes of fashionistas and celebrities. This piece is part fashion commentary, part cultural inquiry, 100% about the innovative pattern.

Text of From Battlefields to Catwalks

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  • he recent, popular trend of army-esque fashion, which emerged from the street styles of pop icons and bloggers alike, has triggered a wave of men and women to parade about incamo-pat ternedparkas, and chunkyseem to be takenolives, deep forestdy browns, oftenheavy studs andbecause they bringmasculinity andany outfit. Theare still always whimsical charminto their edgyby incorporatingpieces, such ascolorful heels, orbright red lipstick

    jackets, distressedcombat boots. Theyby pieces in darkgreens, and mudfeaturing plenty ofspikes. Perhap itsa certain air ofutilitarianism toladies, of course,keen to work someand girly pizzazzensembles, either softer, femininewhite dresses andby dashing on someand vivid eye

    shadow. To be sure, this trend is all about rebelliousness, taking battlewear to the streets; in short, whats important isnt merely adopting military styles, but breaking free of cookie-cutter looks by making them your own.

  • ut where and why did the art of modern camouflage first emerge?Its first intention was certainly not to satisfy the ever-changing wardrobe tastes offashionistas and celebrities - no, its goal was to blend its wearers into their surrounding environment, such that they could be rendered nearly invisible toinquisitive enemy eyes. And it was the French whod first experimented with thisingenious idea of concealment, when they swapped their armys flashy red knickerswith more subtle field pieces after an embarassing defeat by the Germans during WWI. Butsince its conception, the camouflage print has transcended the world of bayonets,grenades, and army men, exploding off and away from battlefields and ontothe catwalks of fashion capitals around the world and the streets of everyday people.

  • ut where and why did the art of modern camouflage first emerge?Its first intention was certainly not to satisfy the ever-changing wardrobe tastes offashionistas and celebrities - no, its goal was to blend its wearers into their surrounding environment, such that they could be rendered nearly invisible toinquisitive enemy eyes. And it was the French whod first experimented with thisingenious idea of concealment, when they swapped their armys flashy red knickerswith more subtle field pieces after an embarassing defeat by the Germans during WWI. Butsince its conception, the camouflage print has transcended the world of bayonets,grenades, and army men, exploding off and away from battlefields and ontothe catwalks of fashion capitals around the world and the streets of everyday people.

  • ndeed, disruptive pattern material has been a source of creative inspiration for both artists and fashion designers alike. In his 1986 painting, Camouflage, Andy Warhol presents a uniqueinterpretation of the military pattern the works vibrant and striking colors, though not ideal fora GI Joe hoping to blend in with his surroundings, are highly provoking, inviting viewers to rethinkpreconceived notions of disguise and identity.

  • nd plenty of familiar names in the world of haute couture, such as Vivienne West-wood, Maharishi, Michael Kors and Jean PaulGautier, regularly inject the print into their designs, to the extent that the line between runways and combat zones is blurred. Fast fashion retailers, including Zara and Topshop, have also been keen to jump on and profit fromour cultures camo craze, with their exploitation of the military style futher assisting its widespread, fast-paced diffusion across the global landscape.

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  • From top: SOPHNET S/S 12 camo crewneck; Topshop cropped military jacket; SOPHNET S/S 12 camo crewneck; Vilebrequin swim shorts; Jeffrey Cambell Padua fur in camo; Vivienne Westwood camo rucksack; Converse All Star ox shoes; Maharishi Splinter hold all

  • From top: SOPHNET S/S 12 camo crewneck; Topshop cropped military jacket; SOPHNET S/S 12 camo crewneck; Vilebrequin swim shorts; Jeffrey Cambell Padua fur in camo; Vivienne Westwood camo rucksack; Converse All Star ox shoes; Maharishi Splinter hold all

  • ow certainly, fashion trends are ephemeral - as fall and wintry seasons fade to welcome warmer springs and summers, so will mercurial fashionistas embrace new styles. But herein lays the brilliance of fashion: its high degree of recyclability. It is constantly looking to the past for ideas, digging through history books for sparks of innovation and creative epiphanies.The result? The reemergence of old tastes andprevious trends, reinterpretated and reincarnated to make extraordinary comebacks. So even if todaystrendsetters hang up their oversized military coats and box up their well-worn combat boots, these pieces will not be gazing forlornly out from dark closet corners for long. For it is more than likely that theyll be dug up again some years down the road, when the spirit of the times says that cam-ouflage deserves yet another encore appearance.

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