Contemporary Womenswear Island Individuality

4th January 2024

Go maire tú is go gcaithe tú é...
May you live long to wear it..

This is the eloquent sentiment traditionally used on the island when gifting a unique piece, woven or knitted especially for the recipient. Clothing has always had an importance beyond warmth on the Aran Islands. Women looked after the dressing of the whole household; spinning, dying, weaving and knitting yarn to design, and make, clothing for all the family.

The women’s garments were often made in vibrant colours — red, indigo and a bright yellow — dyed with local plants, perhaps to counterbalance the greys of the karst limestone landscape. Women often added a considered intricacy, or luxurious flurry of detailing, such as a velvet trim or meaningful stitch interest, from patterns passed down through generations of family.

These traditions have inspired the Inis Meáin Women’s Collection, a mix of contemporary classics drawing on an archive of almost 50 years of knitwear design. The Plated Aran Turtle Neck was designed by Inis Meáin Knitting Company co-founder and native islander, Áine de Blacam, based on a special sweater gifted to her as a child. Knit from a unique blend of super-soft Baby Alpaca, Silk, Cashmere and Cotton, it is breathable and elegant — a forever favourite. Baby Alpaca and Silk are also used exclusively in the Patented Aran range, which includes the collared Cardigan, a mock-turtle Sweater, and a Scarf, Shawl and Throw, all with a superbly soft drape and now available in new island-neutrals and seasonal brights.

Women shared in much of the manual work associated with island living in the past. Today, being outdoors on the land and sea, whether for work or leisure, is still very much part of island life and calls for everyday dressing that offers all day comfort and versatility, combined with understated refinement. New Women’s styles and colours in super-premium Cashmere and Merino yarns embody these characteristics, including the bestselling Boatbuilder Sweater in a classic Turtle Neck and elegant Crop silhouettes, the relaxed-fit Purl Sleeve Tunic and the sporty Celebration Aran Hoodie. Inis Meáin Menswear* pieces are also worn and loved by Women, offering the same relaxed and individual, island-inspired style. Designed, made and hand-finished in our Aran Islands workshop.

If selecting a Men’s piece, Women should choose one size smaller than their usual size. For example, a Size Small in a Men’s sweater will generally fit like a Women’s Size Medium.