Whether it’s a fragment of floral wallpaper salvaged from a First World War dugout or textures derived from tyre-track created by LRDG Chevrolet trucks in the desert, at R&E, we’re always intrigued by thought-provoking archive finds that are just waiting to be translated into brilliant, contemporary prints for our garb, and incredibly this season, it’s a simple map that has captured our attention!
Forming the graphic cornerstone of the collection, inspiration for our brand new ‘map camo’ – a superb camouflage print – is pulled from Second World War escape map showing an aerial view of the desert regions of Africa, which was found sewn into the beret of a member of the Long Range Desert Group.
The British were the first to use silk or cloth maps during World War Two. In the 1940s, the British Military Intelligence unit, known as MI 9, began issuing silk or cloth maps to help familiarise pilots and navigators with terrain features and to assist servicemen, who found themselves caught and captured behind enemy lines.
Cleverly, the purpose of using cloth rather than paper, was purely functional. It meant the maps could be used without a rustle or crackle, whilst the durability of the fabric meant it could withstand immersion in water and could be discreetly folded into a boot or cigarette packet at a moment’s notice… an important attribute, for a prisoner in search of escape!
It certainly did the job. It was noted that of the 35,000 British and Allied troops that escaped from enemy territory, almost half of them used variations on these maps. Now, whilst we can’t guarantee that our awesome print will help you escape any tricky situations, our winning combination of bold design and ingenious functionality, will certainly help you evade any serious style slumps this summer!
>> View the collection here.