One of our most recognisable exports, the Aran jumper is among the most famous examples of Irish design of the twentieth century. First developed in the late 1890s at the encouragement of the Congested Districts Board to give people living on the Aran Islands an alternative to fishing and agriculture, by the 1950s they were being worn by some of the world's most enduring style icons. Today, the tradition of knitting still influences Ireland's fashion designers – in September, up and coming knitwear designer Honor Fitzsimons will join ten other Irish designers at our London Fashion Week presentation Unfold, while established designers such as J.W. Anderson, Simone Rocha and Joanne Hynes have all drawn on the Aran heritage in their collections. Modern day makers of Aran jumpers, Murphy of Ireland, have developed a timeline showing the history of this most practical and iconic garment, take a look here or above.
Words by Alex Calder.