Everyone in fashion is looking for new ways to stand out from the crowd, so it seems ironic that camouflage patterns are being used for that purpose. Camouflage prints have saturated the fashion scene, so much so that no one is standing out anymore. On the contrary, everyone is blending in.
Now, camouflage has infiltrated Milan, yes that Milan, one of the greatest fashion capitals of the world alongside New York City and Paris. Camouflage print can even be spotted in the windows of trendy Milan furniture stores. The pattern can be seen not only on clothing, but on furniture, too. Everything from tops to lampshades to fine cabinetry is donning the olive, tan, brown, and black hues of camouflage.
Used by armed forces across the world, camouflage is used to blend objects into their existing surrounds. Originating from the chic-sounding French word “camofler,” meaning “to disguise,” camouflage first came about during WWI when the French army hired artists to paint their artillery and observation posts the same color as the forest. From that time on, military forces have created a variety of camouflage patterns in order to give soldiers a tactical advantage. Pink camouflage, however, clearly has no tactical advantage at all, despite what fashionistas may think.
During and after WWII, the U.S. military vehicles were usually painted the typical drab olive tone, which was based off of camouflage’s original three-color combination. By the 90’s however, technology was rapidly evolving, and the advent of high-powered lenses created the need for a four-color camouflage pattern.
Camouflage eventually made its way into civilian dress in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when Vietnam War veterans wore their military fatigues back home while protesting the war. The trend spread like wildfire. By the late 1980s, some of the most influential designers and brands in the fashion industry, such as Moschino and Banana Republic, incorporated some kind of camouflage into their lines. Fast forward to today, and the industry’s fashion heavy-hitters such as Ralph Lauren, Roberto Cavalli, and Prada are all fans of camouflage.
The trend has since permeated into interior design and decoration. It’s not uncommon to see camouflage bedding, throws, accessories, and accent tables. However, it doesn’t stop there. This past Veterans Day, Baskin Robbins unveiled camouflage ice cream in honor of our troops. There is even such thing as camouflage cake mixes. Yes, they are real and delicious.