North Equipment Rhodesian Brushstroke Long Sleeve Field Shirt
North Equipment Rhodesian Brushstroke Long Sleeve Field Shirt
North Equipment Rhodesian Brushstroke Long Sleeve Field Shirt
North Equipment Rhodesian Brushstroke Long Sleeve Field Shirt
North Equipment Rhodesian Brushstroke Long Sleeve Field Shirt
North Equipment Rhodesian Brushstroke Long Sleeve Field Shirt
North Equipment Rhodesian Brushstroke Long Sleeve Field Shirt
North Equipment Rhodesian Brushstroke Long Sleeve Field Shirt

North Equipment Rhodesian Brushstroke Long Sleeve Field Shirt

Regular price$159.99 USD
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Size
  • Ships September
  • Made In South Africa with South African Materials

Who is North Equipment?

These new-production Rhodesian Brushstroke garments are manufactured by North Equipment. North is run by Jaco, a former SADF paratrooper or ‘parabat’, who worked with Johann Niemoller to rekindle Niemoller’s military textile businesses, under the North Equipment brand name.

Jaco also happened to be Johann Niemoller's neighbor, which came in handy when he made his bid to restart Niemoller’s garment and webbing businesses after they were mothballed in 1994. With the help of our contacts in South Africa, North Equipment has restarted production on the very same equipment that manufactured Niemoller’s famous ‘Adder’ brand in the 80s and 90s.

Adder is best known for their prolific commercial variant of the Rhodesian camouflage print. Which was sold to Executive Outcomes, and various other secret squirrel outfits. The export market to the USA was also huge for Adder, and their uniforms regularly appeared in Solider of Fortune magazine among other places.

North Equipment continues this old school legacy with a new print which closely matches ‘2nd Pattern’ Rhodesian Brushstroke, color matched and digitally reproduced from Jaco’s original samples from Rhodesia.

The Garments

Every part of these uniforms is made locally. Authenticity is very important to Jaco, and he spent years setting up the supply chain the way he wanted. 

The cotton is sourced from farms in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. A specialty South African weaving company creates the durable cotton twill fabric, and performs the first dying step to create the distinctive khaki base color. After this the fabric is printed with the characteristic brown and green brushstrokes, before being sewn and assembled by Jaco’s team on Niemoller’s old tooling.

Outside of genuine articles from the Bush war, this is just about as authentically made as it gets. Your purchase directly supports passionate Africans working to bring back some of the coolest clothing and equipment from the Cold War.

The garments are based off of uniform sets widely manufactured by various contractors during the Bush War, with the same classic features & generous cut which will keep you looking as sharp as a rooikat's fangs. 

Specs

  • Heavy weight 100% Cotton Twill, Sourced From South Africa & Zimbabwe
  • Sewn & Dyed in South Africa
  • Closely Replicates original "2nd Pattern" Rhodesian Brushstroke
  • Classic & Timeless "Field Shirt" Design
  • Shoulder Epaulets
  • Two buttoned breast pockets
  • Button adjustable cuffs 

Rhodesia: A Brief Overview

If you're new to this rabbit hole of history,
We've written a condensed historical introduction to the country of Rhodesia leading up to the Bush War.
Read It Here

A Legendary Camo Brought Back To Life

The story of "Rhodesian Brushstroke", and how we're partnering with a legend to make our very own...

A Blank Canvas

Rhodesian camouflage, often referred to as "Rhodesian Brushstroke" or simply “Rhodie camo” is a distinct and highly effective pattern created during the height of the Cold War. Its development was driven by the unique circumstances of the Rhodesian Bush War (1964-1979), a conflict characterized by high tempo counterinsurgency operations and great power proxy warfare.

Prior to the widespread adoption of Rhodesian Brushstroke, the Rhodesian military primarily used camouflage patterns from allied British and Belgian forces. Specifically, the British WWII Denison, Belgian Moon and Ball, and Belgian Brushstroke patterns. Looking at these camouflages it’s easy to see how they influenced the development of Rhodesia’s indigenous camouflage.

Cut Off

Sanctions after 'UDI' aimed to isolate Rhodesia economically and politically, but paradoxically spurred swift industrial and economic development in Rhodesia, including production lines for vital military equipment. Without these sanctions, Rhodesian manufacturer David Whitehead Textiles Ltd, would not have been contracted to develop and manufacture a uniform for the nascent Rhodesian military.

2nd Time's the Charm

The print itself was Designed by Dianana ‘Di’ Cameron, an young print designer at David Whitehead in Salisbury. Di hand painted different patterns and presented her canvases directly to senior military officials. This rapid iteration allowed Rhodesian camo to be put into production quickly, and changes continued to be made over several years.

Di’s ultimate ‘2nd pattern’ design was distinctly organic, with large, high-contrast of light and dark. Together these elements create a layered three-dimensional effect which was more effective than previous British and Belgian designs. Sadly, Di passed away in South Africa due to a stroke around 1995.

Pictured: Our re-creation of 2nd pattern brushstroke with a few minor differences.

Design Details

The fabric used in original Rhodesian uniforms was a 100% cotton twill available in two weights: a heavy denim-like fabric for use in hats, smocks, and some pants, and a lighter twill for shirts, trousers, shorts, and the like.

Throughout the Bush war, a half dozen local producers manufactured ‘official’ uniforms in these two David Whitehead fabrics. However, due to the ad-hoc nature of military procurement in Rhodesia, a handful of smaller companies and cottage producers also made their own copies and derivatives in various forms. The quality of these original uniforms varied widely; for example, early ‘1st pattern’ Rhodesian camo was infamous for totally washing out in the sun, and throughout the war fabric quality varied significantly.

Rhodesian uniforms were constructed in a variety of styles with different finishing, and trims. However most garments shared the same generous cut which prioritized range of motion, user comfort, and airflow in the hot African climate. Although some ‘arid’ versions of the Rhodesian uniforms were prototyped and trialed, the vast majority of Rhodesian forces simply used fresh uniforms with vibrant colors in the rainy season, and switched to their ‘salty’ sun-faded uniforms during the dry season.

A Stroke Of Genius?

Over the course of the Bush war, Rhodesian Security Forces became known for their military prowess. So much so that their distinctive camouflage acquired a certain prestige in Southern Africa. This association was so strong that the pattern was retained by Robert Mugabe after his successful conquest of the country. While attempts to field other camouflages were made, a variant of Rhodesian Brushstroke remains the current standard uniform to this day, presumably to lend credibility to the Zimbabwe Defense Forces.

Outside of Rhodesia, elite South African units adopted the print for clandestine cross border raids during Border War years. Due to its popularity, commercial manufacture of the print continued in South Africa after the fall of Rhodesia.

Among the most famous post-war manufacturers was Adder (aka. Adro), a company founded by Johan Niemoller in 1981 after he finished service as a SADF Recce. Known for his legendary contributions to innovative SADF webbing systems, Niemoller became an established military outfitter in the 1980s, supplying both the SADF and ‘other interested parties’ like Executive Outcomes. Niemoller’s businesses also enjoyed substantial commercial sales, with Adder Brushstroke appearing in stores and on the pages of Soldier of Fortune in the late 80s and early 90s.

All-Over-The-Globe

Outside of Africa, Rhodesian Brushstroke also made a notable appearance in the year 2000 during the USMC camouflage trials (which would culminate in the development of the MARPAT family of patterns.) Brushstroke was deemed one of the world’s most effective patterns and was evaluated alongside CADPAT and a modified US Tiger Stripe print.

In the US, Brushstroke can also be credited with inspiring the ‘All-Over Brush’ pattern featured in the US Army’s universal camouflage trials which took place between 2002 and 2004.

North Equipment

A Background on our partnered Manufacturer

A New Chapter

The dawn of the ANC government in 1994 shuttered most of South Africa’s defense industrial base, including Niemoller’s textile businesses. At this time all of Niemoller’s manufacturing equipment was moved to his farm in Lanseria for storage.

Years later Niemoller’s neighbor, a former SADF Parabat with a keen interest in sewing, approached him with a proposal to restart textile manufacturing work in South Africa for the commercial and private security industry. In short order, all of Niemoller’s equipment was moved across the road.

Where We Came In.

With the aid of local contacts in South Africa, we stumbled across this local business in 2021 while sourcing manufacturers for South African webbing and clothing.

It would take several years, but this working relationship would eventually evolve into the North Equipment brand and our exclusive, locally made 2nd pattern Rhodesian Brushstroke using much of the same equipment and staff used by Adder in the 1980s.


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