Exploring History

Get the Military look!

Posted on: April 27, 2020

In this video we take a curatorial (ish) look at military fashion.

During London Fashion week last year, I wondered what it is about military garments that took them from the barracks to the coat hangers of army surplus shops and ultimately the catwalks of major fashion shows?. How did clothing with its origins in the utilitarian needs of the military end up being such an accepted part of everyday fashion?

The purpose of camouflage clothing has been turned on its head and is now worn on the streets to stand out and be seen rather than to hide as its original wearers would need it to do.

Military clothing first appeared on civvy street when uniform items such the Trench Coat were widely marketed after WW1. Other military items such as the Duffle Coat and Parka were sold off as surplus when no longer needed by the army.

When adopted by pop and film stars they sparked crazes. The original clothing inspired fashion designers who took military features and incorporated them into high fashion. Nowadays the look and colours of the military are everywhere on the high street, with more people wearing commercially made garments than genuine military.