Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Art of Camouflage

Recently our founder, Milton Somberg, brought an interesting book back to our headquarters here on Long Island. The cover has just the word “Camouflage” on it along with some interesting pictures of camouflage footwear. Inside the book is a detailed history of camouflage in nature, art, fashion and war going back to its first usage in World War I. There are also hundreds of beautiful pictures of camouflage in every conceivable form from high art to the battleground.

The book has a decidedly British take on camouflage which makes sense since it is published by England’s Imperial War Museum in London to coincide with their Camouflage exhibit running through November 18, 2007. The exhibition is described as “the first major exhibition to explore the impact of camouflage on modern warfare and its adoption into popular culture.” Both the book and the exhibit document the use of camouflage in nature and its early uses by hunters and soldiers going back to the 18th century. Some of the more interesting images are those of the Dazzle Camouflage used by the British Navy in World War I to break up their ship’s outline and make them hard to be targeted by German U-Boats. The last part of the book focuses on the use of camouflage in popular art and music in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, something that Rothco and its partners know a little bit about. All in all, both the book and the exhibit are a fascinating look at something near and dear to our hearts and yours. If you happen to be in London this summer, stop by and check it out.

Speaking of the latest in camouflage, Rothco has just received our newest pattern, Woodland Digital Camouflage T-Shirts , styled after the latest pattern used by the Marine Corps. The tees are available in both adult and kids sizes and are already a very hot seller!

In another example of camouflage and art, below is a great video made by Chuck Jones, creator of all those great Bugs Bunny cartoons for Warner Brothers. Called “A Lesson in Camouflage”, it stars Private Snafu and is part of a series of shorts made for the U.S. Army during World War II. While not the high art featured at the Imperial Museum, it is an interesting and amusing tutorial on the use of camouflage. At the same time, it clearly shows the U.S. military’s perception of cunning and deception used by the German Army. Which brings us back to Mr. Somberg who, before founding Rothco in 1953, was a publicist for Warner Brothers in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s. Perhaps this experience in show business is why Rothco has always been such an entertaining place to be a part of.

To watch the video "A Lesson in Camouflage", just click the Play arrow.