January 5th, 2011

DPM for Acclaim magazine

A DPM cover and an interview with Hardy Blechman features in the latest issue of the Australian Acclaim Magazine, exploring camouflage in contemporary design and culture. The cover features a Bonsai Forest variant of the British brushstroke pattern, celebrating the end of its usage after 60 years in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces service (to be replaced with an All Terrain Pattern, in a colourway more in keeping with the current trend for desert terrain take over).





We’re all familiar with the pattern. We see it every day in the papers, on the TV, on the internet, on the streets. Over the decades, camouflage patterning has trickled down from traditional usages and spilled in and out of the pool of popular culture. Jean-Paul Gaultier has done it, so too have Christian Dior and Yves St Laurent, not to mention its continual usage in a streetwear context. Currently experiencing a resurgence, there is naturally more to the camouflage pattern than meets the eye. Not just a symbol of modern warfare, camouflage is a political statement,
an artistic expression, a marvel of evolution and a man-made extension of nature.

maharishi’s Hardy Blechman is working overtime to diffuse the concept of camouflage as a weapon. His efforts have been well documented in DPM (Disruptive Pattern Material), his massive two-volume, 944-paged tome on the pattern’s history. Since the book was published in 2004, Blechmen has continued his passionate plight of reclaiming the material and putting it into the hands of civilians, through the exclusive DPM yardages that himself and DPM Studio are commissioned to create for a diverse range of brands. We had a chance to talk to Blechman about his DPM projects,some of his favourite designs to date and get some fascinating insights into the historic and technical aspects of arguably the world’s most heavily politicised pattern.

Q: You have a strong affinity for and connection to the camouflage pattern – why is this the case? What is it about camouflage that appeals to you?

Hardy Blechman: I was drawn to green and to the typical woodland camouflage colourway, whose mix of brown, sand and black with green has a natural allure. Growing up in city left me with a desire to reconnect with nature, but I also later discovered when researching for DPM that green is in the middle of the colour spectrum, making it one of the easiest colours on the eye.

Q: Your work, be it in fashion or art, recontextualises the concept of camouflage. That is, you take something that is a deeply traditional element of the military and use it in another context, in this case, fashion or art. Why do you do this?

Hardy Blechman: Camouflage has its roots in nature, not the military. The great grandfather of camouflage, natural historian and artist Abbot Thayer, published his observations of camouflage techniques in nature (Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom published in 1909) and it was later artists employed by the military that mimicked and developed them.
Combining camouflage print with reflective materials or using them internally as linings or pocket bags
represents a love of camouflage in its representation of nature and art, but a disdain for it to be used to conceal in order to kill, or to lure people with a uniform that appeals to people’s subconscious.
As weapons have continued to develop, a black-coloured army uniform would more closely represent the lethal potential of dressing to conceal yourself in powerful modern warfare. If nature’s colours and
combinations of colours hold an allure for people, it seems unfair for the military to use them to
strengthen recruitment, especially since night vision, thermal imaging and heat seeking bullets render
the colour of the uniform pretty ineffective in modern warfare.

Interview by MEISY CHEONG

Author: dpm

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