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Monday, September 8, 2014

MultiCam Clothing Changes Cometh

Military clothing in the MultiCam pattern is a big seller for obvious reasons. There has been a continually growing demand for the camouflage around the globe and the U.S. Army really drove production to all new levels, which perhaps is an understatement on several levels. However, recent changes have increased the cost of MultiCam fabric and thus carrying over to what will soon be an increase for military clothing in the pattern, particularly the Propper ACU Combat Uniform, FR ACU, and Boonie Hats. This as also led to the discontinuation of the Propper BDU in MultiCam once supplies have been exhausted. 


Now we can carry over into mindless speculation as to why pricing has increased. In the past fabrics have increased in cost due to the commodities utilized in manufacturing. As you an imagine it can be quite a guessing game in calculating the price of an item when a key component like cotton can be quite volatile in price over an extended period of time. We can securely state that this was one of the main reasons for the last big increases in cost for military clothing and a lot of other clothing in general. As you can see in the chart below, there was a dramatic uptick going up and through 2011. Things have normalized, but you never know when a shortage or other factor may come in and drive up the prices again. Of course there are ways to hedge against this in the commodities market, so you can peg a particular price and insure your position in cotton for future production without having to fill up on surplus supplies, however that is beyond the scope of this article. 

Given the recent change for the U.S. Army to start utilizing the Scorpion W2 Pattern, now officially known as OCP, there could be be a drop in the production of fabric printed in the MultiCam pattern also known as OCP. If the Army is opting for Scorpion W2, then there will be a gap in production to fill for that pattern in lieu of what used to be MultiCam or UCP. 

One factor we don't know is if Scorpion W2 fabric will ever be available for commercial sell, so it is mere speculation for someone to state that the pattern could cannibalize MultiCam sales in the future, however the U.S. Army is not helping the matter any by not clearly and publicly stating what the situation will be one way or the other. Given that Scorpion W2 is their proprietary pattern, one can assume that it may not be on the open market anytime soon, however UCP was free for anyone to purchase assuming they wanted to. We know you are out there somewhere. The Marine Corps has kept close tabs on their own patterns, so it is possible to keep your camouflage in-house to some extent. 

MultiCam BDU 4 Pocket Coat
Certain facts we do know include that the price for ACU uniforms from Propper in MultiCam only will be going up in price starting in October. This includes those made in 50/50 NYCO and 65/35 Poly/Cotton, so it is not just those specifically utilized by the U.S. Army. The other key development due to this increase in price is the discontinuation of the Propper MultiCam BDU. The pricing will not change on this item, however once supplies are gone, it will no longer be in production for future purchase. So, pick them up while you can if you had a hankering for the lower priced old-style uniform in the MultiCam pattern.  

When the U.S. Army announced the change to the "New" OCP pattern they stated, "The cost of uniforms with the new pattern will be comparable to the current uniform." This still may be the case as there can be very specific volume options for printing fabric in the Scorpion W2 pattern, however the decision to switch to a different pattern may very well be one particular force for the increase in price of MultiCam clothing. MultiCam has come at a premium in the past, but it is clearly noted that in this recent price change, we are not seeing other colors/camo options going up in price for the same fabric. Plus, only the MultiCam version of the Battle Dress Uniform from Propper will be making a disappearing act sometime soon given the price fluctuation. Additional manufacturers have started printing the MultiCam pattern, so there can be plenty of factors at play