Army Gear Through The Years

18 September 2017

Fashion has dramatically changed through the years, whether that be at London Fashion Week (LFW) or in the Army, and this year the military style has played a prominent role.


Camouflage was all over the London catwalks, seen in collections from Christopher Raeburn, Maharishi, Liam Hodges, and even head-to-toe at Nigel Cabourn. Camo as we know it came off-beat, in dispersed patterns and in hybrid colours like acid green and coral orange. It was distinctly street style as opposed to luxe casual, as fashion gets updated with this 2017 take on army surplus.


Maharishi was founded in 1994 by Hardy Blechman with the great vision to create environmentally sound, fair-trade produced, long-lasting, high-quality, utilitarian clothing. The collection has always included the strong natural fibre hemp as well as organic cottons and "upcycled" military clothing, with his aim of trying to highlight the fashion in the British Army, and the changes in uniform have been huge!!


The British Army of early times was a well funded, trained and equipped military force. Attired in sharp looking uniforms considered impracticable by today’s standards; the army had a history spanning over 350 years. The most salient, indeed the most visual feature of the uniform of the British infantryman has always been his scarlet or red coat.


This fine, martial colour has been worn by other elements of the British army, and indeed by some other armies, but its visual effect on enemies and allies alike has generally been to signify the presence of the British Infantry. It was also known to increase morale within the regiments.


However, like most European military uniforms, British army uniforms evolved in much the same ways. Originally, red was the standard color for the infantry and cavalry while dark blue was worn by the Royal Horse Guards and Royal Artillery. However by August of 1914, the bright, colorful uniforms were done away with as the British entered World War I, and khaki became the colour of choice.


These khaki uniforms were among the first camouflage worn by military, the acceptance of drab colours was born more out of necessity that preference. Many of the other armies like Germany and France had already toned down their original uniforms to be more practical. This left the British with their original red uniforms and required a drastic change if they wanted to be less conspicuous on the battlefield. And this camouflage has been adopted by the fashion industry, as can be seen this past week, on the catwalks.