UK Esquire Magazine recently chose the Inis Meáin Shawl Collar Aran as the outstanding example of the Aran Sweater with its myriad of stitches creating the signature Aran texture in super-premium yarns. The article These Sweaters Have a Story to Tell takes a closer look at styles of knitwear originating from North Atlantic Islands, and featuring The Aran Islands, Guernsey, Fair Isle and Norway’s Lofoten. Read an excerpt from the article, part of Big Black Book Style Guide for Winter 2024 below:
From the intricate designs to the functional details, the knitwear from the shores of the North Atlantic is steeped in history and meaning.
Scattered across the frigid waters off Great Britain and Scandinavia and beyond, islands—both big and small, imposing and inviting—are home to an ongoing tradition of crafting distinctive sweaters that can only truly come from one place. Not far from the coast of Western Ireland, the Aran Islands still foster a knitting tradition that’s known the world over. Further north, Fair Isle makes a jumper so recognizable that more people might be more familiar with the garment than the island it’s named after. In the English Channel and a Norwegian archipelago, Guernsey and Lofoten pullovers keep tradition alive—and people warm. Here, we delve into the history of all four of these special sweaters.
The Aran Islands
The old salts of Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer weren’t exactly big on colour, it seems. The sweaters that became the calling card of the three islands off the west coast of Ireland—collectively known as the Aran Islands—were originally made from undyed, off-white sheep’s wool. Now you can find options in charcoal merino from brands like Inis Meáin. Still present, of course, are the cable, trellis, and myriad other stitches that give them their signature texture.
The Shawl Collar Aran Sweater is available exclusively in our Online Shop this season in Charcoal Fleck, a versatile dark grey, distinguished with warm orange and snowy white highlights. Designed, made and hand-finished, like all garments that carry the Inis Meáin label, in our Aran Islands workshop.