Guide by Hardy Blechman, founder of maharishi. Forward by Nick Wooster.


maharishi took the idea of camo and ran with it in such away, that in the late 90s, it was the perfect thing at the perfect time. There was something in the air of change. I'd always worn camo, it was always about function, but in the late '90s there was a camo moment and maharishi made that happen. What they started keeps living on. Fashion comes and goes, prints come and go, proper camo never really goes away.

I love the idea of the sartorial mix of fatigues and a great blazer. Camo is almost like a solid. It is the perfect uniform, you can wear camo in any application and it is always right. - Nick Wooster (@nickwooster). 


The animal world has been employing and developing camouflage tactics since the dawn of time. Through the study of the natural world and 19th-century documentation by Abbot Thayer, man became more aware of the guiding principals of the disruptive pattern, and as Cubism opened the breadth of artistic expression, artists were able to emulate these patterns more effectively.

Camo became a military staple during the WWI effort. Lead by France, other countries including England, Germany and the United States explored the potential of camouflage and abandoned the traditional bright uniform colors when weapons began to become effective at long range. From 1914 heavy guns and some uniforms were hand painted in camouflage, but it wasn’t until 1929 (when the Italians invented the practice of bulk cloth printing) before the full army could be dressed in camouflage. After these firsts by France and Italy, it was the Germans who were first able to issue a camouflage uniform to the general army, beyond elite forces.

There are, of course, many accounts of recycling camouflage outside of military service.  and, artists started playing with it since atlas Boetti in the 1960’s in Italy, who heavily inspired Warhol’s re-appropriation of the US Woodland pattern in 1986. The first recycled army clothing worn by protestors is documented in the 1960’s by the Vietnam Vets Against the War (VVAW). Some Black Panther leaders wore powerful animal prints in the same period, just as some countries in Africa have adopted patterns that resemble the leopard or crocodile. And, artists started playing with camo as inspiration in the 1960’s in Italy, and most famously with Warhol’s re-appropriation of the US Woodland pattern in 1986.

Today, camo is literally everywhere. Decoding what works, and what doesn't, is hard. The Complex Guide to Camo is here to help you. These are the 25 camo patterns everyman should know.

The Complex Guide to Camo contains excerpts from DPM (Disruptive Pattern Material). DPM is Hardy Blechman's exploration into the vast world of camouflage, charting its history from its roots in nature, through to its adoption by the military and on to its current popularity and use within modern civilian culture. Containing over 5,000 images, many of which are previously unpublished, and drawing on the knowledge of an extensive team of consultants, DPM is an indispensable reference guide for both the novice and seasoned camoufleur.