( Irish - Geansai pronounced "Gahnzee")
Who would have thought that the humble Aran jumper would be among a top designers Autumn/Winter collection.
Stylists suggesting that it can be worn this Autumn/Winter with the following:
- Denim patchwork jeans - Distressed jeans - Skinny jeans.
- Leather skirt - Leather boots - Leather trousers.
Lets take a step back in time and learn some interesting facts about this garment.
The Aran jumper/sweater takes its name from the Aran Islands, was popular in the fishing villages and islands off the West Coast of Ireland. They are distinguished by their use of complex textured stitch patterns. Originally the jumpers were knitted using unscoured wool that retained its natural oils or lanolin which made the garments water resistant and meant they remained wearable even when wet. It was primarily the wives of Island fishermen who knitted the jumpers.
Some stitch patterns have a traditional interpretation often of religious significance. The honeycomb is a symbol of the hard-working bee. The cable, an integral part of the fisherman's daily life, is said to be a wish for safety and good luck when fishing. The diamond is a wish of success wealth and treasure. The basket stitch represents the fisherman's basket, a hope for a plentiful catch. A traditional Aran sweater usually is off-white in color similar to a sheep's wool and is made from 100% wool.
Up to the seventies the island women spun their own yarn on spinning wheels. The first Aran knitting patterns were published in the 1940's by Patons. Vogue magazine carried articles on the garment in the 1950's, and jumper exports from the west of Ireland to the United States began in the early 1950's.