History of Camouflage

Military camouflage goes far beyond just the clothing one often associates with this term.  While the importance of blending into the foreground or background is vital to military soldiers, it is also crucial for military equipment and vehicles.  While the use of camouflage can be traced back to the 1800s, the English began incorporating this concept of visual deception in World War I.  The United States quickly followed suite leaving behind their Civil War green-jacketed wear and updating it with the Khaki introduced by the British.  Eventually, large pieces of camouflage material would become popular in a necessity to conceal larger objects when painting was impractical.

Camouflage in the military quickly gained recognition as artists began designing and promoting the benefits of camouflage.  The French even set up a Camouflage Department in 1915 enlisting their own artists, which led the British, United States, Germany and Italy to quickly follow suite.  In 1940, the United States Army Corps of Engineers introduced a new reversible design, which eventually led to a two-part jacket and pants using a leopard design.

The use of military camouflage has continued to evolve meeting the need of each battle and military branch.  A woodland pattern and desert pattern have emerged, along with the pattern itself becoming smaller in order to more effectively hide the stark disruption of a larger pattern which was easier to identify.

Civilian Trend

Camouflage used by the military made its way into civilian trend quite early on.  In 1914, the French had incorporated the use of camouflage on their military vehicles.  That same year, after the German’s invaded France, the fashion designers in Paris took advantage of the design and began incorporating it into their line of women’s clothing.

Since that time, civilian camouflage has continued to evolve and gain popularity.  Some, such as hunters, use it for practical purposes, while others use camouflage clothing to make a fashion statement.  Despite the continued popularity of camouflage clothing and designs, some countries actually forbid anyone – including tourists – other than military personnel to wear any type of camouflage clothing.

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