Cadets to Campers Camouflage’s Rise in Popularity

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What is camouflage? Camouflage clothing is traditionally worn in an attempt to naturally blend in with one’s surroundings, an achievement called “crypsis.” This has been used by many species in nature to their benefit, hiding from predators and prey alike. It was only a matter of time before humans would attempt to copy this skill, and with major advancements in the accuracy and power of firearms in the 1800s, military camouflage clothing was developed for human use. In 1942, camouflage patterns created by Grant Wood and Jacques Villon began to see widespread use in the U.S. Military.

For a long time, camouflage clothing was used strictly by the military, but as veterans wore their fatigues home to protest the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s, camouflage gradually began entering civilian fashion as well. In fact, camouflage soon gained popularity among hunters when one Jim Crumley drew camouflage patterns on his hunting clothes with a Magic Marker during the 1970s. Then finally, in the 1980s, camouflage as a pattern for mainstream clothing reached the height of popularity, according to Time Magazine.

The 1980s have come and gone, but camouflage clothing for men and women is still very popular, due in no small part to the efforts of hunters. Approximately 12.5 million Americans above the age of 16 spend a cumulative 220 million days hunting every year. Some people argue that wearing camouflage hunting clothes into the woods with other camo-clad people toting firearms is not a great idea, but, according the data compiled by the trade association for the firearms industry, hunting ranks third in safety on a list with 28 other recreational activities, including baseball and wrestling.

Hunters, fishers, and other camouflage enthusiasts aren’t just limited to hunting and fishing gear. Camouflage can be found on everything from designer bathing suits to cool truck accessories to formal wedding dresses. And it’s not just one pattern, either. Technological and environmental changes mean that the military has developed many different patterns of camouflage, and these have rapidly spread into civilian use.

In fact, sometimes fashion creates the new pattern first. The military probably has no use for pink camouflage, but plenty of people looking for fun hunting gear or unique bathing suits certainly do! So if you’re interested in camouflage, but not quite sure where to start, fear not! There is a pattern for everyone! Embrace the camouflage, because it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

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