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Stealth Wear: The latest in countersurveillance fashions … for that elusive style
The two tested dozens of fabrics against a body-heat detecting infrared camera, and through trial and error they ultimately created hoodies, burqas and scarves.
“The scarf is meant to be worn as a hijab,” Mr. Harvey said. “It would have been easy to just design a shirt and a pair of pants. But we wanted to show that maybe the fashions, styles, traditions and cultures of where the war is taking place are coming home, too.”
Ms. Bloomfield, who also works as a consultant for performance outerwear companies, said that the flip-top hoodie also was a deliberate choice.
“We could have made a quilt, but we wanted to make a garment that would address the idea of protection and safety,” she said. “We wanted to illustrate the difference between the areas that are open and those that are concealed.”
Launched in London last week, Stealth Wear can be purchased online — the burqa goes for almost $2,400, while the scarf and hoodie are less than $600 each.
Ms. Bloomfield said reaction to the project has been largely positive, and it has come from unexpected sources.
“We thought most of the response would be from the art and design world,” she said. “It was surprising for us to hear from people on the tactical side, people who are truly interested in using this in the field.”
Mr. Harvey added: “We’ve been receiving a lot of emails. A lot of people who think it’s a great fashion project, but also people very interested in using the material, people working for security companies and people carrying out missions in Afghanistan.”
Mr. Harvey said his next project likely will be a T-shirt that will display a crossed-out graphic over the wearer’s heart when viewed through a body-scanning machine.
“The things I’m doing are targeted at different aspects of surveillance,” he said. “It’s really a large set of problems to work against. There’s probably less happening in public than in your house, which has surveillance taking place online and through mobile phones.
“I don’t see this work so much as a protest against surveillance. I don’t think we will decide not to use the technology. It’s more a mater of adapting to it.”
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About the Author
Patrick Hruby is an award-winning journalist who holds degrees from Georgetown and Northwestern. He also contributes to ESPN.com and The Atlantic Online, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. Follow him on Twitter (@patrick_hruby) and contact him at PatrickHruby.net.
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