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GQ dubs Natick and its Army center America's fashion capital

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  September 20, 2012 03:29 PM

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natickarmysuits.jpg

US Army Photo by David Kamm

Army suits are shown off at the Natick Labs following GQ's article on the base's contributions to fashion.

Move over, New York City: GQ writers argued this week that Natick should be dubbed America's fashion capital.

The popular men's lifestyle magazine might have slapped Boston with a worst-dressed American city title last year, but writers at the magazine now say that Natick, Mass. should be celebrated for the Natick Soldier Systems Center's contribution to fashion.

Writers argued that if America has made any long-lasting contributions to fashion, it's functional clothing, and that the Natick Labs - which specialize in research and development of anything that touches a soldier’s life while on duty, including clothing, food, and supply needs - have contributed the utmost utility to the genre.

"From that brassy, hierarchical order of military men and women, we've inherited the combat boot, the fatigue shirt, the camouflage print and the campaign desk - all items worthy of veneration," GQ wrote.

Writers also celebrated the birth of the T-shirt, which they said was popularized after the Spanish American War around 1898, and paid special attention to the ubiquitous "G-1" bomber jacket, worn first by soldiers during the Korean War.

"Nearly every New York fashion house produces a version of the G-1, but these are interpretations at best, and imitations at worst, of an American classic," GQ wrote. "None is quite comparable to the leather original born four hours up the road in Natick."

John Harlow, spokesperson for the Army base, said GQ's recognition was well-deserved.

"It’s a tribute to the more than 1,600 people who work here on a daily basis. Their main focus is protecting the soldier, not whether or not it looks good, but the fact that GQ makes it fashionable is a nice, cool thing on top of it," Harlow said.

Over the past year, Natick labs have been highlighted by U.S. Secretary of the Army John McHugh and Massachusetts legislators at the State House.

The base's research also produced popular products such as Tang, GPS technology, and bulletproof vests.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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