The foundation of the THLETE brand is our state of the art, proprietary “Dead Fall” camouflage pattern. Our team at THLETE is comprised of dedicated hunters with years of whitetail hunting experiences across the USA. We know what works, what does not work and what is available in the marketplace. In addition, the high-performance hunting apparel market is hyper competitive, with significant competition among various businesses ranging from mega-brands to small niche players. As a result, we needed to create a proprietary camouflage pattern that was purpose built to meet and exceed the needs of the North American whitetail hunter.
This mission began with a thorough understanding of the key elements of effective concealment for whitetail hunting. These elements consist of an understanding of whitetail biology and how camouflage patterns and colors relate to such biology. We invested significant time and expense in developing Deadfall and protecting our intellectual property rights in the pattern. Although this process took time, was expensive and involved field testing and some trial and error, we believe we got it right and are optimistic that the Deadfall pattern will differentiate THLETE from others in hunting apparel marketplace.
The hunting apparel market has evolved significantly over the past 30 years. During this time span, we have seen the early days when the bulk of the hunting apparel consisted of camouflage patterns and colors derived from the military. These patterns and colors tended to closely match their military equivalents without much, if any, hunting terrain and color coordination. In addition, the fact that they were derived from actual military fatigues added to the consumer appeal. In the late 1970s, photo realism was first introduced, which allowed camouflage patterns to more closely mimic the actual surroundings of the applicable hunting terrain. This brought a large influx of manufacturers racing to create the most lifelike and realistic patterns.
More recently, the industry has evolved in part to follow updates in military camouflage with the utilization of ‘digital’ designs and colors that have proved effective in modern warfare, which in turn has also contributed to their consumer eye appeal. We do not believe functionality on the battlefield necessarily translates into effective concealment for a whitetail hunter, nor do we believe that consumer eye appeal, while interesting, necessarily equates to the functionality of a whitetail hunting garment. Rather than battlefield usage, we believe effective concealment for our core customers is best achieved through a thorough understanding of whitetail biology and the appropriate application of patterns and colors.
Scientific studies have confirmed that ungulates, hoofed animals such as whitetail deer, have evolved visual keys for identifying threats based more upon the overall shape of the object as opposed to the color or fine details of the object. Humans operate with the same visual keys. We recognize that as we move further from a given object, the detail is removed, and we tend to identify threats by shape alone without regard to miniscule details or colors. If you have ever hunted whitetails in rattlesnake territory, you will know what we are talking about. The mere identification of a snake on the ground will trigger your flight or fight mechanisms. Only after achieving a safe distance will you elect to discern color, head shape or other features to determine appropriate threat level.
An ungulate’s visual keys work by the same set of laws. As a result, we designed Dead Fall to break up the human outline at near and long distances through a pattern and color scheme that creates deep contrast while integrating into your surroundings from a whitetail’s perspective. In terms of our color scheme, we selected the most versatile earth tones we could find that aided in creating strong contrast with our pattern. We then added a branch overlay with a drop shadow to add another level of contrast and depth within the pattern to achieve superior break up characteristics. In short, eliminate the human outline, at near and long distances, eliminate the whitetail threat reaction and you achieve an effective whitetail concealment pattern.