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Thread: paramilitary fashion - rant

  1. #1
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    Default paramilitary fashion - rant



    Is it my imagination or has this been on the rise these past couple of years??
    this is something that's been bothering me for a LONG while,

    more and more fashion seems to be using military motifs, whether camouflage or maybe more classic double breasted brass-buttons & epaulettes
    to me this represents an stealthy militarisation of civil society, i understand that (in UK) soldiers are not allowed to wear uniforms unless on duty, this is good as it means the military don't use their uniforms as a status symbol & draws a clear boundary between civil & military society.

    i reckon that them combat trousers with the paratrooper pockets have actually been in fashion since GW1 as have yer timbaland desertboots (ala swarzkopf). Now there seem to be more adoption of themes by hiphop & sports & even children's wear ffs, & now we see shit like 'ironic' pink camouflage prints =
    that seems to me just to trivialise conflict and the reality of war in a society where we fund war but do not have to deal with it's consequences

    I remember for years there've been a crew of rastas at carnival very year fully decked out on camo, (eden will know exactly who!), so is this maybe an exception? - more acceptable as they are a militant minority than from the social dominant group??

    it sincerely disturbs me to see people on the high street dressed up like chetniks, it makes me feel like maybe roadblocks and kigali style street militia are just around the corner...

    any conscious dissensite wish to defend their wardrobe against charges of militarism?? - can anyone say they don't own any militarised item? yer boots? yer beenie/balaclava? that flight jacket? or your trendy silver dog tag necklace?


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    good thread topic! i'm very much answerable to all of these charges, so...

    yes, the incipient militarism of the yoof is deeply worrying- see also SUVs...the description 'my soldiers' etc- both in the 'support our troops' and radical chic senses
    this also apposite- http://leninology.blogspot.com/2005/...fantasies.html

    however it is an easy (and frequently cheap) way of looking smart amidst a sea of sloppy tracksuits, and no-one is parting me from my red army jacket


    but in defence of this, isn't militaristic garb meant to disturb after all?- tho i know it involves a certain quasi-identification with conflicts that 'we' fund but don't suffer the consequences of, but isn't that the point? an acknowledgement that the world is polarised, is militaristic...? that there's a kind of 'perverse over-identification' at work here, deliberately setting out to unsettle? (as zizek said abt Laibach- tho whether he would have said the same abt 'soldier' and 'lose my breath' by destiny's child i dunno)
    Last edited by owen; 29-12-2005 at 01:45 PM.

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    Guilty as charged. Did quite a bit of this in my youth and during university years (army surplus stores being good sources for cheap, longlife clothing) but have gone clean off it ever since obligatory army service. In my defense I must say I never wore a piece of gear without seriously "customizing"/disfiguring it first.

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    I don't actually own any camo gear cos it just reminds me of Rodney from "Only Fools and Horses" rather than Kigali death squads, as for paraboots, they're a bit dated and mostly worn by cider-swigging punks, but this is a practical strategy, as they stop your feet getting mashed to pulp when someone pogos all over you

    I do have a balaclava, which looks really evil, which I bought for 5 quid as part of a prank, but I've only worn it once (I think it's still illegal to do so in the UK in public spaces under the Paramilitaries Act?). I also have a gasmask, which again I pissed around with once when we were in a band, but has gathered dust for about 10 years. I don't think it represents a militarisation of anything, people just buy it cos it's cheap and they like it. And if you actually talk to people wearing it, you end up realising these people'll never lift a rifle in their lives.

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    kid's clothes ffs


    documentary evidence from brixton market...

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    Default 2 way street

    I reckon it's working the other way too, Sufi.

    Remember gung ho Brit Colonel Tim Collins and his Oakley wraparounds?


    Icons of civvy-street "cool" on the battlefield signify the same scary osmosis as camo bikinis on the beach. Seen from this angle I begin to get your point.

    Off to see Jarhead tonight so I'll report back with cinematic examples if there are any.

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    I have always liked the pseudo-milliatary, quasi-fascist look, just on an aesthetic level (related to my teenage obsession with industrial music, hard-edge abstract painting, radical politics... but sepcifically how I'm not always so sure)

    I own a WW2 german field jacket and a flight jacket (don't wear them much at all anymore though)... do Doc Martens count?

    I would much rather look like Laibach compared to hippie slobs any day. (even though I'm like, all about peace and love man)

    and I have to confess... the 12 year-old in me still thinks Hummers look cool no matter how much I am sickened by them on an ideological level.

    but I don't think pseudo-millitaristic fashion can be simply interpreted as pro-milliatary... it's more complex than that. as an expression I think it can mean a lot of different things...

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    couldn't agree more sufi. to my knowledge, i don't own any militaristic clothing, and i never will. it's a weird look, whether it's done to rebel or to fit in, i'm not into it

    (do doc martens count? haven't worn them for over 5 years anyway)

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    i think this new wave of paramilitary fashion is more sinister, more of a straight identification with the powers that be.

    as opposed to back in the industrial-goth days when it meant something else... it had a different function. more of a statement, perhaps ironic, maybe even critical. like those pictures of Genesis P. dressed in army outfits (AK optional).
    Last edited by zhao; 20-01-2006 at 07:23 PM.

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    I'm still a first-wave-industrial-era camo gear fetishist whether in army-surplus-store or designer stylee.

    Both my sons are currently sitting on the sofa with their kid-sized camo trousers on and they look ACE. (Felix has some camo socks -- cooooooool!)

    Bestest thing is when camo style crosses over with rambling gear for that super-practical high-tech vibe...

    I think the prevalance of semi-militaristic designer camo gear comes from black US gulf war(s) veterans coming back and wearing camo to clubs...

    Am put in mind of Destiny's Child's "Soldier" which I can't get out of my head.
    Last edited by Grievous Angel; 20-01-2006 at 04:27 PM.
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    welll, paul,
    is there policy on toys like guns? you often hear parents say that 'o yes kids will just pretend a stick is a gun if you do'nt let them have toy guns', which i spose might suggest they are getting too much exposure to violence on tv (assuming they're not in real life), in which case maybe it's a question of where you draw the line in this society where, as you say, the survivalist mentality seems increasingly relevant. i just don't think it's too nice meself to glamorize violence or authoritarianism...
    like redcres says, i think the customizing/disfiguring idea is interesting, but as it seems to work both ways, with militarisation of corporate uniform, e.g. yr "security consultants" working for the occupiers in Iraq, so it's a still a potentially dodgy road to travel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sufi
    welll, paul,
    is there policy on toys like guns? you often hear parents say that 'o yes kids will just pretend a stick is a gun if you do'nt let them have toy guns', which i spose might suggest they are getting too much exposure to violence on tv (assuming they're not in real life), in which case maybe it's a question of where you draw the line in this society where, as you say, the survivalist mentality seems increasingly relevant. i just don't think it's too nice meself to glamorize violence or authoritarianism...
    Excellent, I get a chance to talk about the kids!

    Well, there's toy guns and there's toy guns. Felix, the firstborn, doesn't have any guns per se, though he does have this funny hand-held thing that "shoots" little felt discs, and as long he doesn't shoot it at the baby or the cat, that's OK. He also has a toy light-sabre -- it makes the noises and lights up and has both colours for Luke Skywalker AND Darth Vader, you'd love it! And today -- it was his fifth birthday today -- he got a DOUBLE ENDED LIGHT SABRE. How cool is that? Really wicked noises too!

    And -- no doubt you'll tell me he's on the road to hell -- he does martial arts. (So, that's camo gear on him, plus seeing me in camo gear, plus vaguely gun-like toys, plus martial arts -- no doubt you're thinking he's GOT to be a victim of glamourised violence, right?) He got his first little belt in karate last month. We were SO proud. Of course this doesn't make him any more aggressive -- quite the reverse. Mind you, the baby is MUCH more aggressive than Felix, he's a right little bruiser.

    All of which in my mind adds up to fuck all.

    Cos, when I was growing up, I had LOADS of toy guns, really realistic ones, and I liked army surplus stuff, and war films, and playing soldiers, and the whole nine yards.

    And I was anti-war and anti-violence from the first moment I could articulate the thought.

    (Sufi, did you have toy guns? Did they damage you?)

    So personally speaking, and this was a long and self-indulgent way of expressing it, I think there are more important things to worry about than whether your kids play with guns, or whether to wear army surplus stuff, or camo gear, or trendy clothes inspired by it. Though we don't really go in for toy guns ourselves cos they make enough mess, noise and trouble when they're "playing nicely", let alone when you let them loose with a toy bren gun. Or a light sabre for that matter. The number of bruises I've got on my shins from the baby swinging that fucking thing around at random...
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2stepfan
    Cos, when I was growing up, I had LOADS of toy guns, really realistic ones, and I liked army surplus stuff, and war films, and playing soldiers, and the whole nine yards.

    And I was anti-war and anti-violence from the first moment I could articulate the thought.

    same here. genesis p prolly was the same too

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2stepfan
    I'm still a first-wave-industrial-era camo gear fetishist whether in army-surplus-store or designer stylee.

    Both my sons are currently sitting on the sofa with their kid-sized camo trousers on and they look ACE. (Felix has some camo socks -- cooooooool!)

    Bestest thing is when camo style crosses over with rambling gear for that super-practical high-tech vibe...
    I've been trying to justify buying this for quite some time - NORWEGIAN SPECIAL FORCES WEAR!!


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    Quote Originally Posted by 2stepfan
    Cos, when I was growing up, I had LOADS of toy guns, really realistic ones, and I liked army surplus stuff, and war films, and playing soldiers, and the whole nine yards.

    And I was anti-war and anti-violence from the first moment I could articulate the thought.
    i generally agree with this - but i think you have to play it by ear with kids, like most things. siblings have very different personalities and the same strategies don't always pay off for all your children.

    my eldest was always good at determining reality from fantasy and is never aggressive.

    the younger one on the other hand, well we had to stop him from watching certain cartoons and star wars because he was bashing his brother with the light saber and generally being hostile to other kids. once we'd removed some of these toys and cartoons, things went back to normal.

    it was less a moral thing (guns are bad, mmmkay) than a practical one, just want to teach them the right way to behave with their peers, whatever works is good for me.

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