As communication technology collapses the distance between populations, a post-geographic culture emerges in which divisions are eroded and diversity is fully embraced. Symbolised by the super-continent Pangaea, in which all the countries of the Earth are one uni ed land mass, the collection takes inspiration from the clothing worn by devotees within religious orders around the world. Monk’s robes, Judaic prayer strings and capes of the Knights Templar have all been reinterpreted and cross bred with one another to create a pan-global language of devotional uniform.
These concerns are written throughout the collection; the colour palette includes purple and golden brown, derived from Roman Catholic traditions and a bright orange referencing the robes of Thai Buddhist monks, whose symbolic usage of this beacon colour is shared with the U.S. Army’s reversible MA1 flight jackets.
The slogan ‘No Rel. Pref.’, included in SS16, is short-hand for No Religious Preference and a reference to the fact that enlisted soldiers must choose a religious affiliation so that it can be added to their name and blood type on their dog tags. Should they be killed in action, their remains may be disposed of in accordance with their religion’s last rites or burial rituals. Those who do not subscribe to one of the most popular religions, or who are Atheist, only have the option to inscribe ‘No Rel. Pref.’, which offends some soldiers who have a strong, un-recognised, religious preference or strongly believe in Atheism. It’s inclusion in the collection is intended to draw attention to the notion of religion in warfare, and the contradiction this creates. The U.S. Army attempt to cover this in part by printing their own version of the Bible, which replaces the commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill” with a lesser known interpretation “Thou Shalt Not Murder”.
Recycled military surplus has featured in all maharishi collections since 1994. This season, Swedish military snow camo tarpaulins have been used in the creation of smocks and jackets. These tarpaulins are peppered with small geometric perforations, originally intended to create light and shade effects for camouflage, but here they are backed with orange vintage U.S.Army parachute silk to expose the wearer, rather than conceal.
The Tour Kimono Jacket combines the sportswear derived features of the US Sukajan/souvenir jacket with traditional Kimono details and silhouette. The handwork embroidery is also inspired by vintage embroidered Tour jackets, and has been added to further intertwine eastern and western cultures. It’s said that the U.S. Army are often on tour in an effort to defend their freedom. In it’s 240 years of history, there have been only 5 years during which they have not been at war.
Whilst referencing ancient traditions, maharishi always maintain focus on the latest developments in apparel technology. The SS16 collection features a technical nylon with an unexpectedly soft handle, from renowned Italian mill Limonta, used in an M65 field jacket with an original, ergonomic sleeve and shoulder design allowing unimpeded freedom of movement. Soft silicon extended zip pullers, Swiss Riri zips and Framis seam sealing tapes are used on technical cloths, alongside maharishi staples hemp and organic cotton.
SS16 sees the return of DPM: British Bonsai, a disruptive pattern that combines the elements of the long standing (until recently) UK military pattern with elements of maharishi’s house pattern Bonsai Forest, which incorporates Bonsai tree shapes growing from heavenly clouds, reminding us that camouflage has its roots in nature. The Woodland colourway replaces the traditional black with purple, whilst the other colourways are inspired by a 2 colour version that the British issued hurriedly in 1991, a little shamefully, as it was necessitated by the fact that they sold uniforms (and arms) to Iraq in 1989 and then declared war on them in 1991. The MOD refused to send troops to war dressed identically to their Iraqi enemies, so created a simpler and more sparse 2 colour version. In a further effort to reinforce the fact that maharishi use camouflage as an expression of nature and art, rather than as a tool by which to conceal oneself from an enemy, all the camouflage styles in SS16 are fully reversible, enabling the pattern to be worn internally.