How to get lost— New York


The US military has long used a type of camouflage pattern designed according to the type of terrain in which it will be used. Now, a Brooklyn-based company has persuaded it to try a new way of (not) seeing things.

Business, Camouflage, Clothing, Military

The Brooklyn Navy Yard was the 19th-century heartland of naval technology in the US but is now home to furniture makers, technology start-ups and television studios. It’s the last place you’d expect to find US Army contractors but the rejuvenated industrial area across the East River from Manhattan is also home to Crye Precision, the first private firm to supply camouflage to the military.

“When we started out, it wasn’t popular to want to make things for the military, especially in New York City,” says Caleb Crye, who runs Crye Precision with…

Top kit

As well as MultiCam combat clothes, Crye Precision makes everything from gun clips to helmets and baseball caps. These are Monocle’s top five Crye products.

In recent years, “digicam” is a phrase that’s been thrown around a lot when describing military camouflage. Referring mainly to heavily pixellated, tonal patterns, lo-resolution digital camouflage was thought to blur more effectively than more traditional larger patterns.

However, the results are not always effective. Pixellated patterns are composed of straight lines, which do not occur in nature, meaning that up close, this micropattern camouflage is easily distinguishable. More successful at close distances are higher resolution, curvilinear patterns like MultiCam. While still constructed digitally, the shapes blend more easily with natural surroundings than the stiff squares of pixellated digicam. This culminated in a high-profile failure recently when the US Army announced that after a $5bn (€4bn) investment, their digital camouflage design would be scrapped.

Having debuted in 2004 to much fanfare, heralding it as the future of disruptive patterns across all terrain, the new designs proved ineffective in almost all combat environments. The rather ambitiously named Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) has now been retired in favour of MultiCam.

Look book

Almost a decade after publication, DPM by Hardy Blechman remains the reference point for camouflage design. Curated by Maharishi founder Hardy Blechman, this encyclopaedic work (right) reclaimed “disruptive patterns” from military associations and documented the ways in which these patterns are found in nature and have been deployed throughout human history. With more than six years of research culminating in a doorstep of a book including over 6,000 images, it’s essential reading for anyone interested in this area of design.


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