Camouflage, Conspiracies and a Common Misunderstanding of Fashion

There was a time not too long ago, when the only people who wore camouflage- patterned clothing through choice were slightly socially- awkward men and boys who spent their weekends painting tiny models of soldiers whilst planning their next role-playing game meet-up. I always assumed that these people were dressing for strictly practical purposes, or perhaps fantasised of being in the army whilst never really having the self-disciple to actually apply.

Today, take a trip to Oxford Street and you’ll be confronted with swarms of fashion-conscious young women wearing army-style camo- jackets. Now, forgive me for appearing dense, but doesn’t it seem slightly ironic that a piece of clothing based on a very serious piece of compulsory military uniform is being worn by people who want to stand out as the height of fashion? It doesn’t matter how many grungy looking metal spikes and studs are on the shoulders of your jacket: you have unknowingly created a brand new army of fashion drones and they are taking over the high street. Standing at Bond Street station this weekend, I had quite a job convincing myself that I was not in an Orwellian dystopian novel.

That’s how I feel about fashion these days. I know that the very concept of a trend is that it is a style popular enough for many people to follow, but the originality of the high street is, in my humble opinion, becoming less and less each season. This Spring for example, we had rail upon rail of neon coated tackiness thrown at us from H&M, Urban Outfitters and River Island. It left me opting for last year’s cardigans and the disheartening feeling that perhaps my unwillingness to dress as if always ready for a slightly damp early-90’s rave in the back-end of Colchester meant that I was officially Too Old for Topshop.

I am bored of the high street, irritated at having an image forced at me by The Man, but not yet rich enough to be buying one-off designer pieces, or hiring my own tailor. As my humble navy swing skirt from two years ago continues to fray and cry softly to its under-appreciated little self, I feel I have no choice but to become a fashion recluse and start cultivating some hemp from which I can weave my own multi-season ponchos. I may as well go the whole hog and build myself an eco-home out of mud and cow shit and live on homegrown potato and hemp-seed soup. If anyone needs me, I’ll be the one playing the panpipes outside Topshop, occasionally indulging in paranoid screaming fits at unsuspecting young girls in camouflage jackets.

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