Speaking with PORT Magazine‘s David Hellqvist, Maharishi designer Hardy Belchman elaborates on the history of camouflage. Known for his love of the pattern, Blechman has been using camo in Maharishi designs for years – to the point where it has become the brand’s signature. Blechman has traced the origins of the pattern (artists initiated its use, not the military) in his new book, Disruptive Pattern Material, which is available now. Check out an extract from his conversation below, and head over to PORT’s website for the full story. (Photography: Morgan O’Donovan)


“When I researched Disruptive Pattern Material, my book on the history of camouflage, it became absolutely clear to me that camo is not a military invention. It comes from the study of natural history, which long ago recognised and categorised camouflage techniques used in nature by animals. In 1909, naturalist painter Abbott Thayer published a book, showing that animals are able to hide against the background by adopting four or five basic camouflage techniques. In art, until the introduction of Cubism in the early 20th century, painters generally used realism; artists could depict landscapes or forests, but they couldn’t perceive an abstract rendition of nature as a pattern. Thayer’s work made us realise that an abstract rendition of nature could be man made. When artists started practising this art form, they were recruited by the military and told to paint camouflage patterns for them. So the research for DPM really shows that camouflage has been hijacked by the military, taken from artists and scientists.”