Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Function or Fashion?

In the military clothing business we are sometimes fortunate to come across old school items that become a hit with the soldiers. Other times, a military item will crossover and become a big hit with the fashion market. Rarely, if ever, will an item be hot in both areas at the same time.

Right now is one of those rare times when we've found an item that's in great demand by both military personnel and fashionistas, and that item is the Shemagh! Worn in the deserts for hundreds of years, military use of this by Westerners goes back to T.E. Lawrence, aka Lawrence of Arabia. More recently, Charlie Sheen can be seen wearing one in the 1990 film "Navy SEALs". Here's a video from U S Cavalry showing how it's worn:




Currently, according to Wikipedia, "Since the beginning of the War on Terror, these keffiyeh, usually cotton and in military Olive drab or Khaki with black stitching, have been adopted by US and troops as well. Their practicality in an arid environment, as in Iraq, explains their constant popularity with soldiers. Soldiers often wear the keffiyeh folded in half into a triangle and wrapped around the face, with the halfway point being placed over the mouth and nose, sometimes coupled with goggles, to keep sand out of the face." Many of our dealers who serve U.S. military personnel in the Middle East and Afghanistan have requested this for their customers.

From a forum on militaryphotos.net comes this from a soldier stationed at Ft. Bragg:

"Our unit issued us all a shemagh to protect us from the sun/dust and to endear us to the local population. I took mine every mission we went on, especailly in the winter. It works alot better than the standard neck gaiter for protection from the cold. We never really had a problem with wearing them with our uniform as long as it was outside the wire.The one the soldier in the picture is wearing can be purchased at all the PXs on base."


Everyone from Kanye West (see video below) to (famously) Rachel Ray has been wearing this out on the street and whether your customer is a fashion-craving teenager or a soldier leaving for deployment to the Middle East, the Rothco Shemagh is an absolute MUST HAVE! Now available in 6 colors and finally in stock, this nearly a guaranteed sale. In fact, I would suggest going to Rothco.com and ordering these NOW!


John Ottaviano


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