Our Fall Winter 2020 collection Treehugger: Tales of the Forest saw a new addition to our line of accessories: embroidered patches. They decorated model’s jean jackets, shirts, collars, and trousers, lending a lived-in, even nostalgic quality to the modern garments.

Though patches are a runway convention today, they weren’t always so popular. In fact, they were originally synonymous with poverty and humiliation: in Tudor England, ‘patch’ was a derogatory term for servants, in reference to their often tattered clothing.

The first subculture to appropriate the patch were the hippies, along with, later, the punks, who successfully subverted this symbol of poverty into the fashionable accessory we know it as today.
Patches not only symbolised a belonging to a subcultural style tribe, they also play an important role in military history. They were used to identify and rank officers, a purely pragmatic element of a uniform- which was also reimagined by fashion counterculture.

The PHIPPS team designed six patches nodding to the accessory’s tumultuous place in fashion history: for scouts, hippies, and metalheads alike. Keep reading to learn more about each one of them.
League of Dendrology

Dendrology is the study of the characteristics of trees, shrubs, lianas, and other woody plants, which today is primarily concerned with the conservation of rare or endangered species.
A review of the term by William A. Dayton (Dayton 1945) places its first use as 1668, as the title of an encyclopedia on trees by an Italian physician and naturalist, who can be considered the father of dendrology.

As this collection is dedicated to the conservation and protection of forests from all manner of destructive forces, PHIPPS created a fictional League of Dendrology- a fitting name for militant treehuggers.
The gothic font and sword embroidery create gothic-romantic imagery, bringing together fantastical worlds and gamer culture.
The Wood Wide Web

Trees and plants are capable of communicating, and sharing nutrients and information with each other across kilometers of underground networks. This vast grid, a thin, white web, has come to be known as the “Wood Wide Web”.
The transactions which occur in the Web transcend simple exchanges of nutrients (carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and more) between fungus and plant- using fungal networks, they communicate to other neighbouring plants, even between different species.

We devoted a whole story to the World Wide Web: find it on the “stories” homepage.
Guardians of the Forest

Like The League of Dendrology, PHIPPS imagined the crest of a fictional group dedicated to the preservation of forests. It is reminiscent of the badges worn by American park rangers- embellishing their now standardized uniform of a distinctive broad-brimmed flat hat, grey boxy shirt, and forest green slacks.

This patch is quite similar to the logo of the National Park Service, the governing body of US National Parks: unchanged since 1949, it features a symbolic Sequoia tree, bison, and distant mountains, all on a crest shaped like an arrowhead.
Quality Forest Products

PHIPPS designs highly aesthetic, but also highly functional garments. Imagining a line of “Quality Forest Products” is not far off from what you see on the runway- the ranger ensemble, warm knitwear, and many more would carry you through a trek in the woods.

This patch is more similar to military patches, with a central American Flag bordered by gold thread.
Mind Your Fire

This patch is a part of PHIPPS’ collaboration with American wildfire prevention icon Smokey Bear. Instead of the character’s famed catchphrase “Only you can prevent wildfires”, this circular patch with a fire pictogram says “Mind your Fire.” Remember these fire safety tips, courtesy of Smokey himself, next time you go camping: -Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible. -Pour lots of water on the fire. Drown ALL embers, not just the red ones. Pour until hissing sound stops. -Continue adding water, dirt or sand and stirring with a shovel until all material is cool.
Smokey Bear

This patch is also in collaboration with Smokey Bear. It shows him standing among a crop of colorful flowers, smiling and holding a shovel. The panel behind him reads “Keep it Green”, followed by an abbreviated version of his catchphrase “Prevent Wildfires”. If you noticed, Smokey is always pictured wearing a flat hat- just like Park Rangers.

As part of our commitment to wildfire prevention and the preservation of the world’s natural resources, we are donating 10% of all sales of PHIPPS Smokey Bear items to the USDA Forest Service.