In honor of Veteran's Day, I'm sharing a post I originally wrote two years ago. The post is about the history of camo and it's connection to WWI. Veteran's day actually began as Armistice Day- the celebration of the end of WWI. On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month the guns ceased to fire. The holiday was later changed to Veteran's Day following the end of WWII. I hope you enjoy the post!
I think camo and pearls equals razzle dazzle... I'm not just saying that to be cheesy.... it actually has to do with the history of camouflage. But, before we get into that.. let's discuss outfit details! I based this look around a shirt I picked up at Abercrombie & Fitch on Black Friday. I shared a little about it on instagram back in November.
Camouflage is trending in a big way right now. There is probably a good chance you have a piece in your wardrobe, or you've been eyeing one. It's a print that has been around for awhile now; and like leopard print it runs a fine line between posh, and well- not so posh ;). It has an interesting history, which actually has less to do with hunting and more to do with warfare than you might think.
Camouflage print as we know it (in Western culture) dates to WWI. Artillery (really big guns) in this war was more accurate and powerful than ever before, plus submarines were invented too. So, armies needed a way to improve their chances vs. the enemy. Enter camouflage.... it’s designed to break up patterns and make things like people, ships, guns, and ambulances more difficult for the enemy to spot.
World War I was fought mostly in Europe between the years of 1914-1918. The major players in the war were Germany and Austria-Hungary (a now defunct multi-ethnic empire in central and eastern Europe) vs. England, France, and the USA (end of the war major player). Russia was Germany and Austria-Hungary's foe too, but left the
war in 1917 due to a revolution (start of communism there). The war had a lot of fronts, with the most famous one being (at least in Western Europe and America) the Western Front, which ran roughly along the border of France and Germany.
Think of a zebra now, no... this is actually not off the subject... and picture the zebra on wide open savannah being chased by lions.. scientists used to think that the strips helped camouflage the zebra from their foes. Nowadays, there are other theories about their stripes, but this isn't a post about zebra stripes!
Razzle dazzle! The first camouflage used on ships in WWI was called dazzle camouflage. It looks like something you'd see on a Zebra, and that's not a mistake!
Taking a cue from zebras in the wild, the British ship pictured above is painted in "dazzle camouflage" the name for this type of camo. There was even a saying used to describe the camo in an endearing way.."razzle dazzle". The idea here was that like a zebra on the savannah, the ship would be difficult for the enemy to spot.
Over the course of the war camo evolved into more recognizable patterns and colors. It was also used on tanks, ambulances, uniforms, helmets, and...well... you get the picture!
From War to the Runway?
From the research I did on the subject I figured out that camo became a trend in the early 1980's. Since then its popularity has ebbed and flowed. Right now it's "flowing"... so enjoy the flow (if you love camo that is!).