We're back with another dyed piece of desert DPM, but this time we've taken it in a completely different direction — enter Nightshade DPM.
Nightshade DPM is what we're dubbing our newest lineup of custom dyed desert DPM field shirts. The more we began to do our homework on the dark dyed originals we're cloning, the more mysterious they became...
DPM, or Disruptive Pattern Material has seen use across countries in many theatres since the 1940s (mainly in those associated with the British Commonwealth). It was also infamously used by the Irish Republican Army during The Troubles.
Desert DPM, which is what we started out with, was extensively used in the Gulf War, operations in Afghanistan, and is still used today in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Optimized for the completely arid landscapes of the Arabian gulf, it's sandy tones blended in well to sand, but not much else...
The field shirt's mechanical design also has a long history with only minor changes being applied over it's service. The phrase "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" certainly comes to mind. It's become a long time staple of surplus inventories worldwide.
Dye or Die
As the insurgency wars of the 90s and 2000s went on, the shortcomings of the iconic pattern shone, with many troops resorting to DIY dying their issued garments in the field to make them more versatile in a pinch. Results were mixed and commonly ended up in wild shades of turquoise and emerald green.
The MoD saw the shortcomings of DPM as the British forces entered the 'Green Zone' of Afghanistan. They got to work on several experimental camos to replace the tried and true DPM but ultimately, these camo trials were a long process that the troops couldn't afford to wait for completion.
While the camo trials were running, some decided to take it upon themselves to dye existing patterns to get the effect that they wanted. After the MoD's multi terrain pattern started to replace DPM, mysteriously colored versions of the field shirt began to show up on surplus store shelves. And the theory crafting among surplus collectors started to take shape as well.
ufeffAbove, our newly dyed DPM on the right vs the original mysterious genuine dyed shirt on the left. the telltale sign is the much darker buttons of the original. One of our suppliers actually sold a batch of these some time ago.
While it's mainly speculation, the genuine dyed garments may have been dyed dark to better conceal troops at night, much like the SAS does with their darker clothing. Individual units may have reached out to manufacturers asking for dyeing plus a few other modifications (like the buttons) and got them custom made. Between our research and collector's speculation, the origins of the originals remains a mystery. And that mystery drew us in.
Genuine field modified articles have also gone from scarce to incredibly rare — so we decided to take our extensive experience dyeing surplus to bring back the unique colorway.
Getting it's name from the deadly plant and the literal "night" shade they ended up being, our dyed field shirts are an homage to the field modified examples as well as the iconic dark clothing worn by the SAS and Special Boat Service.
Our shirts generally ended up in two spectra of color:
MOD. E, containing more earthy and rusty tones
MOD. B, blue-black tones ranging from slightly green to slightly purple
Unlike our UBACs, these are a little more form than function. Woodland DPM is a busy pattern and Desert DPM can be a little ugly on the street, but these colorways tone desert DPM down significantly. When the genuine dyed ones originally hit the market, they even got some reputation as streetwear in the UK much like M81 Woodland did stateside.
Lastly, one of the cooler features outside of the unique pattern is the variety of patches sewn on to a few of the shirts. From RAF banners to UN (lol) shoulder patches, you might have a chance at getting some interesting extras that also react to the dye.
- 30/70% poly/cotton mix.
- Two front 7.5" x 8" pockets.
- Button fastened (Some may Include Zipper in addition to buttons)
- Collar button to pop collar for various practical and egotistical uses.
- Cuff tightening buttons.
- Strap on the front for attaching rank tab.
- May feature Union Jack on shoulder or other unit patches.
These field shirts are measured in cm using height and chest circumference. The sizing intervals are decently far apart, so you may want to round up or down depending on how you want the shirt to fit (tight like a shirt, or looser like a jacket).
The unique coloration results from a special dyeing process applied to each DPM desert donor shirt. Unlike standard "over-dyeing," we use a reactive dye which only binds to cotton fibers. This leaves all nylon fibers in the body of the shirt itself undyed, seen easily in the striped pattern of the ripstop fabric.
As a result, the color will not leach or fade. Post-dyeing, your shirt is clear of residual chemicals and clean enough to put in a baby's mouth.
Shirts are in great condition with no blemishes, stains, rips, or tears. Dye color is unique to each shirt, and may slightly vary. Inspect product photos carefully.