When was the last time you saw an entirely new, not “recycledfrom- military” camouflage pattern in the sneaker game? ARKK Copenhagen, a brand otherwise known for understated Scandinavian stylistics, goes next level with an all-new take on the time-honored design.
In the world of sneakers and streetwear, camouflage is one of those bedrock aesthetics that will never go out of style. Used as color blocking element or full-f ledged upper patterning, camo has made its mark on athletic shoes for decades, implemented into blazing hot releases by the likes of adidas, Puma, DC Shoes, Supra, HUF, SUPREME, Nike, Undefeated, A Bathing Ape, ASICS, and countless others.
“I think that, at this point, it has gone far beyond a mere trend. Camo has become a fixture in fashion,” said inf luential designer Hardy Blechman, who chronicled camouflage history in his book DPM – Disruptive Pattern Material. “You might want to compare it to denim – nobody would ask if the market is saturated or if we’ve seen too much if it.” But while we do keep seeing more camouflage – including the highly anticipated Nike Air Force 1 Low “Country Camo” Pack – the majority of shoe releases simply “borrow” time-honored patterns from over 100 years of military heritage.
Down-home inspirations aside, the move into camo may come as a surprise, because ARKK Copenhagen was founded in October 2014 by Kasper Høj Rasmussen and Thomas Refdahl around the tagline “Clean. Simple. Sneakers.” But looking at the Desert Camo with its geometric and pixelated outlines, the initial design ethos still holds true. It’s an evolution of camouflage, created for man-to-man trench combat, into the age of computerized modern warfare.
The almost mathematical precision of ARKK’s pattern results from the choice of tools. While traditional camo variations owe their erratic stripes to analogue paintbrushing techniques – British paratroopers in WW2 literally slathered layers of colors over their khakis – the Danish designers went the digital route: “The design was made pixel by pixel, totaling over 100 hours from our designers.”
Executed on a micro mesh fabric, the new ARKK Copenhagen Desert Camo Pack premieres in SS2018. It features in three models, contrasted with tancolored soles, straps, laces, and PU cages: First in the Desert Camo Pack, the Pythron Mesh S-E15 model is a futuristic high-top with a streamlined toe and velcro strap enclosure. Second is the runner-inspired Raven Mesh S-E15, a low-top silhouette that pairs camouflage with a tan booty-style entry and f lat laces on delicate nylon eyelets. Finally, rounding out the pack is the Eaglezero Mesh S-E15 low-top featuring an innovative, asymmetrical lacing system and prominent reinforced heel section. All three models will be making their way to select retailers with a January/February delivery window.
Whether or not these new styles will be the start of a new line of ARKK Copenhagen camouflage sneakers and garments – or evolutions on classic patterns like snow camo – remains to be seen. After all, camouflage has been known to provide a certain element of surprise…
The ARKK Copenhagen Desert Camo Pack and further releases from the brand’s SS2018 line-up will be available via arkkcopenhagen.com.
This story appears in SNEAKERS MAG #37 – Released in Janury 2018