MARTINO: Camouflage is in, outside or not


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Apr 20, 2024

MARTINO: Camouflage is in, outside or not

Here’s a counterintuitive fashion trend. Want to stand out? Try wearing camouflage clothing. Once normally reserved for battlefields, hiding in duck blinds or trying to beat the eyes of big game

Here’s a counterintuitive fashion trend. Want to stand out? Try wearing camouflage clothing. Once normally reserved for battlefields, hiding in duck blinds or trying to beat the eyes of big game animals, camo can now be spotted everywhere, from grocery stores to upscale restaurants.

The concept of camouflage has been around since the first caveman smeared mud on their face. It was originally mass-produced in the 1800’s for soldiers to wear during battle. But more recently camo clothing has made the leap from being practical military or hunting apparel to somewhat of a fashion trend. Technically, camo is not a color, it’s a pattern.

In today’s age you can find almost anything in camo. From comforters, toothbrush holders to furniture. Buying items in camo can be considered the new lifestyle.

Over the past five years, the explosion in the number of items available in camouflage is mind-boggling. Advantage/Realtree alone licenses its patterns to over 900 manufacturers. This isn’t solely because of hunters demands but because of the huge number of females who purchase these types of patterns from bed sheets to bras.

The fact that you can even buy furniture clad in camo suggests this isn’t just a retail fad pushed by smart marketing experts. Lets face it, not many hunters can afford to buy a $2,200 sofa even if it does come with DuPont Stainmaster fabric guard.

“Many of our consumers live and breathe hunting all year round,” said Amy Key, licensing account manager for Realtree. “And that carries over to their homes and lifestyles whether it’s a bedspread or piece of furniture.”

For Kim Nelson it all started with camo luggage. “The set I bought is waterproof and it’s easy to spot when it’s dropped on the turnstyle at airports,” she mentioned. From there, her camo accoutrements have continually expanded. She has also come up with her own Martha Stewart style of proper ways to use it. “Busier patterns, like the wetland style camo, are more appealing on a wall or bed spread,” she advises, “while Realtree styles are more appealing on coats and shirts.

But it doesn’t stop there. Those who pass away now have the choice to be buried in a camouflage casket and enshrouded in a camo coffin lining. On the other end of the spectrum, even newborns can be styled with camo diapers, bibs and sippy cups.

Some see no end to this trend. “I have several pairs of pants, shorts and shirts in different camo patterns and colors,” said Chrissy Delrich, who enjoys fishing but never actually hunted. “I just think it looks cool and enjoy wearing them.” Besides the usual earth tone hues, camo clothing is also produced in vibrant colors such as blues, reds and pink.

On a personal note, there are some instances when camouflage items should be avoided. Too much of a good thing sometimes prove costly. For example, several years back a friend of mine accidentally dropped his camo billfold while deer hunting. After several hours of searching, the woods eventually claimed it. On another hunt, my hunting partner ended up arrowing a good sized buck. After taking photos with his cell phone, covered in a camo phone case I might add, he set it down to begin the field dressing process. We eventually found it but not before accidentally stepping on it. Hunting knives sporting camo handles are another one to avoid for the same reasons.

The concept of camouflage being considered mainstream shows no signs of slowing down. I think in some remote ways it promotes an outdoor lifestyle. Just be careful if considering a cell phone case or billfold in Mossy Oak Break up.

John Martino is the Tribune’s outdoors columnist. He may be reached at [email protected].

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