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'I See You, Not' Textile Design

The inspiration for the textile pattern design ‘I See You, Not’ was taken from the idea of ‘not being seen’

The ‘Art’ of camouflage has been used in a military form both on clothing and buildings and been depicted by artists such as Picasso. The parallel between avant-garde art and military design history is thoroughly investigated in the book Camouflage, by Tim Newark. 

‘Dazzle camouflage rejects concealment in favour of disruption’ as discussed by James Taylor in his book Dazzle, Disguise & Disruption and Dazzle having arrived in the course of the First World War being heavily inspired by the Cubism and British Vorticism art movements, dazzle was conceived and developed by the celebrated artist and naval commander Norman Wilkinson.

Dazzle camouflage inspired the trend of ‘dazzlesque’ patterns used on clothes in England, beginning with the “Dazzle Ball” being held by the Chelsea Arts Club.  Dazzle-patterned black and white clothes were worn by those attending the ball, influencing twentieth-century fashion and art via postcards and magazine articles. Several 1960s artists explored the theme of camouflage in their work including Andy Warhol’s 1986 camouflage series to include ‘Camouflage Self-Portrait and Alain Jacquet who created camouflage works from the early 60s to the 1970s.

Camouflage has been used in fashion by designers to create striking designs including Marimekko in the 1960s.  The symbolism and pattern disruption offering inspiration and in the 1990s camouflage became widespread in clothing design from streetwear to high-fashion labels. 

1950s Post War abstract paintings influenced the final design, with one particular painting of abstracted triangles influencing the camouflage shapes.  To be ‘seen’ and ‘yet not seen’ hide a pattern within a pattern, to be ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’ to disrupt through pattern all forms of ‘not being seen’ used through art, fashion and military clothing. The idea of diverting, distorting and disrupting the gaze of the viewer, rejecting concealment as in dazzle camouflage are themes explored in the textile pattern ‘I See You, Not’.