Military clothes in civilian use

I was at the largest European rock music festival ("Rock am Ring", 75,000 visitors, three stages) on Friday till Sunday and had great fun despite the poor weather. My favourite bands were Madness and Limp Bizkit.

It was a great demonstration of the self-organizing behaviour of huge crowds and the (limited) power of a tiny but organized minority of security personnel.

I made another observation that keeps me thinking: There was a kind of unofficial dress code in force, 95% of the visitors had dark (black or grey) clothes or military-style clothes.
(I violated the dress code badly with a light leather jacket and got recognized by people whom I had met two days ago.)

German Flecktarn trousers were quite popular, but many other patterns were in use as well; DPM, Woodland, East German Strichtarn and some pseudo-military (greyish, blueish) patterns.
Most people with such clothes didn't look like actual (or past) military personnel at all.
Military clothes are also quite popular among construction workers and craftsmen (or outdoor workers in general) in Germany.

I guess that social scientists have already done studies about the reasons for this fashion in non-military environments. Their summary would be really interesting.

I wonder what future historians will think about this fashion.

Will they compare it to the pre-1914 seaman uniform (Matrosenanzug) fashion for boys?

What does the present fashion tell about the fashion of a hundred years ago?
The Matrosenanzug fashion of imperial Germany (actually: only in its middle-class) is often used as a display of militarism. Will camouflaged rock music fans be seen as hidden militarists in a hundred years?

The present German society doesn't appear to be militaristic at all - yet military pattern clothes aren't exactly an uncommon sight. The past years had lots of earth and vegetation-like colours in general in our clothing stores.

Well, this is (or was) lots of homework for social scientists - may they tell us about their findings.
I'm certainly interested in reading their studies (well, their summaries) on these topics.

Sven Ortmann

P.S.: Damnit! I forgot to make a photo on the festival!
By the way; the only military-look stuff that I use privately are sleeping bags.

1 comment:

  1. Mario Mirarchi9 June 2009 at 21:41

    Hi Sven,

    Sailor uniforms for young boys were also en vogue in the US around the same time.