MF® SCUBA Trunks, 2×1 “Army” denim
MF® SCUBA Trunks, “Tiger Stripes” camo twill
MF® SCUBA Trunks, P42 “Frogskin” camo HBT
MF® SCUBA Trunks, OD/Khaki HBT
Mister Freedom® SCUBA TRUNKS
Army Denim, Tiger Stripes, Frogskin, OD HBT
mfsc 2021-22 FROGSVILLE
This here is the one garment that inspired and fired-up our entire mfsc Frogsville concept in 2021!
We had felt for a while that the iconic US military “TRUNKS, SWIMMERS” (aka “UDT shorts”) were too good of an historical piece of gear to not be revisited by heritage fashion. So we took the dive.
As the swimwear of choice of the Naval Special Warfare combat skin diver since WW2, the unique silhouette/cut (short length, high waist, double D-ring adjustable strap) has long been associated with the badassery of the Naked Warriors, UDT Frogmen and US Navy SEALs.
The characteristic style spread to other branches and MOS (Military Occupational Specialty), and was adopted by rescue swimmer schools – AIRRs (Navy Aviation Rescue Swimmers), SAR, MCCSSS (Marine Corps Water Survival School) – at times worn as PT uniform in USMC Recon Units, as daily uniform (matched with a green skivvy aboard a ship on deployment during Desert Storm source), even as General Purpose trunks.
The style was adapted from 1940’s civilian athletic/sport trunks, see vintage satin 1930s-50s belted basketball/boxing shorts. The utilitarian pattern of the trunks evolved very little though the years. The original regulation model, part of the frogman’s sea bag, were issued in khaki carded cotton chino twill, and this is how “UDT shorts” are still commonly known today.
However, vintage specimen suggest that several distinctive models and patterns were produced for the military, some more or less obscure. Trunks cut from a wide variety of fabrics also exist, showing in-the-field creativity. Those non-reg versions were usually rigger-made or tailor-made, using recycled uniforms, surplus shelter halves/ponchos, or locally-milled fabrics.
Popular in South East Asia during the Vietnam War were camo versions, flashing all kinds of disruptive patterns, a plethora of tiger stripes, Beogam, Mitchell, ERDL, etc. In-country made embroidered trunks featuring custom “moral patches”, in the non-PC “Party Suit” tradition, are coveted items for collectors today.
For our Mister Freedom® interpretation, the SCUBA Trunks, we combined details and cuts from several military-issued swim shorts from our archives, the oldest being a 1943 US Navy contract pair (NXsX-35162) issued to a “NASH, R.D”, and the most unusual one a 1940s-50s private purchase pair labelled “Frank Bros. Military Uniform and Civilian Clothing, San Antonio, TX” featuring an interesting underwear “diaper” back pattern. We applied the usual MF® twist, blended all the vintage references into a contemporary wearable garment, and, yes, steered clear of the Frank Bros style.
With updated pattern/fit/fabrics, our swim trunks are not replicas, yet respectful of the DNA of vintage military originals.
The waist strap allows for a ½ to 1 inch cinch. Many period photos of SEALs in the 1970s show the trunks being worn with the top waist button undone, belt un-cinched, waistband rolled down. This practice may show a tendency at the time to prefer a lower rise than the old 1940s high-waisted cut, amongst other concerns.
Our friend John T, of @Mosquito_Boat IG fame, a salty USMC veteran and knowledgeable preserver of military History, confirmed the practice during his time serving as a proud US Marine in the 1990s-00s, with anecdotes I won’t relate here.
Personally, the SCUBA Trunks have rapidly become my go-to PT beachwear, as hinted by the 38,779 photos on my IG feed, cosplaying as a half-naked weekend warrior peddling wares.
The MF® SCUBA TRUNKS are a re-imagined classic designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.
The MF® SCUBA Trunks are available in four distinct fabric options, all milled to vintage Mil-Specs in Japan:
a) 10 Oz. “Army” 2×1 selvedge denim, 100% cotton (same fabric as our Denim Raiders Fatigues)
b) BR (Buzz Rickson’s) Gold “Tiger Stripes” camo printed all-cotton twill, 1960s-inspired TSP pattern (same fabric as our Tiger Advisor Jacket). Inside waistband cut from contrast signal orange NOS cotton twill.
c) OD/Khaki combo HBT (Herringbone Twill), 100% cotton (same fabric as our HBT Raiders Fatigues)
d) BR (Buzz Rickson’s) P42 “frogskin” double-sided camo pattern, all-cotton HBT, reversible, constructed jungle (green) side out, also wearable with beach (beige) side out (same fabric as our Map Shirt)
* An original MFSC pattern, inspired by vintage military Swimmers Trunks, UDT shorts, revisited in the US military tradition of in-country local-made custom garments.
* Old school high rise and short length profile.
* Adjustable waist strap with double D-ring buckle.
* Single square rear pocket.
* Button fly, classic USN-style “fouled anchor” CPO plastic buttons.
* Chainstitch seams construction.
* Tonal stitching (with “rainbow” stitch accent on the inside for the Tiger Stripes & OD HBT model, in old USN “Liberty” fashion.)
* Original mfsc Frogsville woven rayon label.
The MF® SCUBA Trunks are true-to-size after a cold rinse/machine spin dry/line dry.
Although the four fabric options have varying shrinkage specifics, all four models will fit similarly after the initial rinse/dry.
We recommend the following simple initial process.
- Cold soak for about 30 mn in tub or machine, with occasional hand agitation.
- Spin dry (spinning cycle) if using a washing machine.
- Line dry.
The D-ring waist strap allows for a one inch ~ ½ inch cinch. I wear a W32 in all models, and can get away with a W31 in the “Army” denim version. I’m about 5’7 / 145-150 lbs.
Low maintenance. Machine wash when needed. Cold water, eco-friendly detergent. Line dry.
Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support.
Suggested extra noise-canceling set-up, pending USPTO approval.
Some MF® Oki Covers in their new environment.
Mister Freedom® Oki Cover.
Recycled from 1940’s USMC ponchos.
Sportsman 2015, made in USA.
Recycling is green but the MF® Oki Cover comes in frogskin camo.
The name “Oki” is a reference to Okinawa, the home of the Counter Insurgency Support Office for a while, as we already mentioned while introducing the MF® Experimental Camouflage Utility Trousers during Spring 2015. To pretentiously quote ourselves, here is a bit of that interesting slice of History again:
“…To more efficiently handle logistics, the highly-classified Counter Insurgency Support Office is established on the island of Okinawa, Japan in 1963. Headed by a mysterious individual working for the Department of Army by the name of Conrad Benjamin Baker, CISO was “assigned the mission of supporting the Special Forces programs through triservice depots and local procurement sources (…) Many items of clothing and equipment, for example, had to be obtained from markets in other countries because of size problems, composition of material, and equipment which had to be tailored to Montagnard measurements.” (source)
CISO acquired or produced ‘sterile’ (untraceable if captured) weapons, along with unmarked clothing and equipment to outfit US Special Forces or advisors heading out to South Vietnam. Locally screen-printed tiger stripe camo fatigues, “bowie” knives, VC-style black pajamas, rations, machetes, Seiko watches for recon teams, black 1-0rain jackets, North Vietnamese Army-inspired rucksacks…
Basically, if it proved needed in the field, CISO sourced it out in Asia, or designed it and manufactured it locally. At a fraction of the price compared to US-made mil-specs issued gear, and quicker delivery than its state-side bureaucracy-laden official channel alternative. What exactly went on is not well documented, but Ben Baker’s account of his involvement in the original design and R&D of the famous SOG knife is available for download in pdf form here…”
In the tradition of local-made garments using recycled Government-issued equipment and fabrics, we have decided to ‘sacrifice’ a few NOS WW2 USMC ponchos scored recently to make some hats. These un-issued shelter halves are authentic and originate from different military contractors of the period. They were still craft paper-wrapped and stored in talc powder. They are all dated 1944.
Original US Gov’t issued USMC ponchos, dated 1944
Originally, these ponchos were mainly issued to GI’s in the Pacific theater of operations (PTO), as the frogskin camo pattern proved too close to the German’s variety of field concealment to avoid confusion in Europe (ETO). From Tarawa to Iwo Jima, island-hoping Marines made good use of these reversible rubberized canvas shelter halves, also turning them into floor mats, blankets, tents… Rarely pictured worn in combat situation probably due to obvious impracticability, these ponchos can still be spotted on period photography of the Pacific War.
USN or USMC Camo poncho in action. GI’s unloading USN landing crafts, Iwo Jima 1945 (Courtesy LIFE)
The pattern of our Oki Cover is of a generic engineer cap type, a cross between the Choo Choo Charlie hat and a 40’s UMSC cover. Our cap is pretty much reversible, and can be worn jungle side out or beach side out, although, for those understandingly allergic to branding, the green camo side features the MF® sportsman woven label.
DISCLAIMER: This NOS rubberized canvas fabric, although thin, feels quite stiff and starched, making crinkly noises even after being thoroughly washed. For argument sake, it can be said that once sitting on top of you head and shaped to your liking, the MF® Oki Cover should remain quiet if your hair grows less than a foot per day.
One can also look at the Oki Cover as a low-tech noise canceling hat.
The very limited MF® Oki Cover is made in California by Mister Freedom®, from recycled 1940’s USMC frogskin camo ponchos.
Also featured in the photos is the MF® Jump Scarf, recycled from authentic vintage 1950’s US military spot camouflage canopies.
Credits: Some historical references courtesy of this US Militaria Forum thread.
Recycled NOS 1940’s USMC frogskin camo ponchos, original US Government issue, dated 1944. This batch of rubberized fabric is quite stiff and noisy. Each cap was washed thoroughly after completion and the fabric feels like dry fabric and not rubber.
We do not guarantee the waterproof quality of the fabric anymore, but applying some type of weatherproof fabric dressing might help, and prove more productive than suing the original 1944 contractor. We have yet to test, but the wax might also help with the crinkling noise.
Due to the nature of this 70 year-old vintage fabric, each hat might show wear from washing and abrasion, and feature tiny holes and minor fraying.
* Engineer cap-type pattern.
* Low-tech noise canceling technology.
* Limited Edition.
* Made in USA.
The Oki Covers come thoroughly washed and machine dried. No further shrinkage is to be expected.
They are sized by measuring the headband in centimeters. The sizing is discreetly stamped in black on the jungle side.
Hand wash when needed. Shape and hang dry.
Available washed only.
Soon available from www.misterfreedom.com, and from our Los Angeles brick & mortar store.
Email email@example.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support,
Lobby card courtesy of Andrew “Yesterday’s Heroes Vintage” Pruill
“Bullfrog & the Frog Skins” rehearsal
You taulkin to me?
Map Shirt, “frog skin” issue
“Sea Hunt” mfsc Fall 2014
Following the landing of our enigmatic blue shirt, here is the second drop of our “Sea Hunt” 2014 Fall chapter.
Our map shirt gets its name from the large concealed chest pocket designed to hold the funny papers, aka topographic maps. Please note that it is not necessary to bring a map of the Sahara on any of the major Pacific islands.
As usual, we did not ask the US Army for permission to borrow the design of its M1953 utility shirt (M stands for model, P for pattern). The M1953 was originally issued to the US Marine Corps in the mid 1950’s. Early models were cut from OD herringbone twill, to be replaced in 1956 by a sage green cotton sateen version… The M1953 is the basic pattern of our Map Shirt.
Since our map shirt is no replica, we figured we’d give that “Gomer Pile” pattern a few MF® twists. It is available in three different fabrics for Fall 2014, and the first to be released is a camouflage version.
Italians are not only famous for having invented entertaining football in 2006, but also for coming up with the “telo mimetico” in 1929. That original ‘simulating fabric’ is known to be the first printed camouflage to be issued to troops. It came in the form of a half-shelter tent. This revolutionary concept beat any previous attempts from the French to hand paint foliage concealment on issued gear.
Little did the Italians know that camouflage would eventually be put to better use decades later, making it to Pitti Uomo, living rooms and closets.
Our map shirt showcases a type of camouflage known as “frog skin”, “duck hunter” or M1942 US camo.
We specifically chose this one for two reasons:
1) It fell off the Buzz Rickson’s truck and we know Sgt. Bilko.
2) Because of an inspiring photo found in the book “Les Papous Coupeurs de Têtes“ (Tony Saulnier, 1961), based on the Oscar-winning film “Le Ciel et la Boue“, a documentary we mentioned when introducing the “Sea Hunt” watchman jacket. In an epic capture, one of the member of that 1959 expedition, a shirtless Gérard “machete” Delloye is seen wading through a New Guinea river carrying a military surplus USMC-issued frog skin jacket.
A fine example of how we seek the help of professional fashion forecasting services before launching new garments.
Gerard Delloye 1959 (Photo courtesy of Tony Saulnier)
Most of you are by now familiar with the camouflage pattern of our Map Shirt. Frog skin military replicas and fashion items have been available for some time.
And now, a few words for the History buffs…
With its origins in the early days of WW2, the P1942 frog skin camouflage fabric is considered to be the first printed camouflage issued to American Armed Forces.
It is well documented that early tests for tropical warfare fatigues have been conducted around 1940, but most scholars still dispute the fact that field studies have involved Martha Vickers. We have R&D documents.
Tasked with providing US Marine Raiders with proper concealment in Pacific islands jungles, the US Army Corps of Engineers came up with a reversible fabric around 1942, printed with a green-dominant jungle side and brown-dominant beach side.
It eventually proved to be less efficient than hoped for by General McArthur’s fighting troops, and was mostly abandoned by the end of 1944, when its similarity with some Wehrmacht units camouflage attracted friendly fire in Normandy, France.
1943 Fall Fashion
Raiders training, Courtesy Dept of Defense
US Marines, Okinawa 1945
Navajo Code Talkers, Saipan 1944
USMC Raider, Courtesy Dept of Defense
The P1942 OG
Meanwhile, back in this jungle…
Surprisingly, the 100% cotton base fabric is originally… white. Yes! After the HBT textile is milled, it is printed on each side with two different patterns, involving several screens and a total of five different colors. This double-sided printing process was a type of complicated silkscreen/roller set-up with partial bleed-through effect, and quite the novelty in the early 40’s.
Please note our P1942 camo fabric was printed using traditional methods, not computers. The keen eye will notice some pinhead-size white dots on our fabric. This is due to the slub of the yarn and also the lint specs present on the raw/unwashed white fabric at the time of printing. The lint gets printed as the top layer, leaving a white dot when brushed off. If you get a white spot the shape of a fly, that’s a collector.
To clarify, our Map Shirt is not reversible. However, the fashion-forward will know to suavely roll the sleeves and display the ‘beach’ side at any given moment, triggering instant admiration and generating envy from peers.
We have added a touch of blue with concealed cotton chambray accents, for no other reason that we found the combo visually pleasing.
If this shirt can be worn tucked-in, as the original M1953 shirts were intended to, we have added side slits to compliment an un-tucked look. Anyone reading this is old enough to not be told how to wear their shirt anyways.
The “Sea Hunt” Map Shirt is designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.
100% cotton Herringbone Twill (HBT), P1942 “frog skin” camouflage, double sided printing. Fabric milled in Japan for Buzz Rickson’s.
* Pattern inspired my 1950’s UMSC-issued utility shirts.
* Comfortable over-shirt fit.
* USN-type chambray accents (collar facing, wrist gussets, pocket flap facing, inside pockets)
* Two chest pockets, concealed button flaps.
* One large map inside pocket, side opening.
* One concealed chest pocket, top opening.
* Concealed button-hole tape placket.
* Light brown corozo buttons.
* Flat-felled seam construction.
* OD 100% cotton thread stitching.
* Made in Japan.
This garment comes raw/unwashed and will shrink to tagged size after an original cold soak/line dry. Further shrinkage to be expected with the use of hot water and heat dryer.
It is intended to be a comfortable fitting shirt, easy to wear over a chambray shirt or Tshirt.
If you are a Medium in mfsc jackets/shirts, you are a Medium in the Map Shirt.
Because the base HBT fabric is white before being printed, toning down of colors will naturally occur. This fading should not be considered a quest or a defect, only the natural consequence of the wash/wear process over the years.
Please refer to sizing chart for raw/rinsed measurements.
(Please note that if we do our best to scientifically measure garments, the Art of measuring seems to be a subjective concept we are working on to master.)
Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large
Soon available from www.misterfreedom.com
Please call 323-653-2014 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions not answered above.
As always, thank you sincerely for your support