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Introducing the Dazzle Collection

A Graphic Story with a History that Zigs and Zags

Dazzle camouflage was conceived during WWI by an unlikely innovator, a British naval officer named Norman Wilkinson, as a way to help protect ships from torpedo attacks. By using geometric patterns, contrasting color and scale to trick the eye, Dazzle increased the difficulty of accurately calculating the course heading, speed and even the number of ships being viewed, decreasing the confidence needed to precisely calculate a torpedo strike.

What makes the story really interesting is that Wilkinson was an artist, and his solution for protecting ships may have been inspired by his own observations as a painter as well as the newly emerging inspiration of cubism, which explored how multiple perspectives in a single frame could represent objects in time and space. This concurrence of artistic inspiration and innovation is a fascinating example of the power of art, and its ability to shape our senses.

By the end of WWI, every British and merchant ship that was draped in Dazzle camo (more than 4,000 ships in all) featured a unique design produced by hand, making each ship a true work of art. And Dazzle camouflaged ships remained in service until the advent of radar, a critical innovation that shaped WWII tactics and the art of military camouflage.

When we set out to create a collection inspired by Dazzle, we wanted to update the concept with a modern twist, and add a new dimension to its rich history. Our design team found inspiration in another form of art – music – and the grooves of vinyl records, which bring a Dazzle-like pattern to life when viewed with from different angles and under intense magnification. And true to the legacy of those Dazzle-draped ships from nearly a century ago, every shoe and helmet in our AV Dazzle collection has a slight variance in how the design drapes the object, making each piece slightly unique.