Taylor-made: Boost for the Irish craft industry as a pop star wearing Aran jersey to promote a new album
The modest Aran geansaí strikes again and this time it is singer Taylor Swift who places international emphasis on traditional Irish knitting.
The craft sector here, facing a tough year, has crossed its fingers that Swift fans and 137 million Instagram followers could follow its style example.
The question is, did Taylor realize the significance of the knitted stitches when she put on the creamy sweater to promote her eighth studio album, ‘Folklore,’ released yesterday?
Taylor wears an Aran-style turtleneck sweater, decorated with striking raised diamond stitches across the shoulders and sleeves, with cable stitches of varying sizes along the body.
The diamond stitch, which resembles a fisherman’s net, is the symbol of wealth and success, and is filled with a basket stitch, symbolizing the fishing basket and the desire for a big catch. Each stitch in Aran knitting has its own meaning, and the cables in the front represent a fisherman’s ropes, while the braided cable is about the intertwining of family life.
Taylor’s decision to wear the heritage stitch-inspired modern jersey yesterday thrilled the Irish craft sector, which experienced commercial ripples last year when actor Chris Evans wore a fat Aran in the Hollywood movie ‘Knives Out’.
A viral tweet sparked a handsome friend Aran jumper’s zeal – similar to the frenzy over Connell’s silver chain in ‘Normal People’.
The origin of the cream, possibly machine-knitted sweater that Taylor wore to promote her album, was unknown yesterday.
The Embassy of Ireland, USA quickly jumped on Twitter to post the photos, writing, “Yes, we can confirm that an Aran jersey is absolutely guaranteed to make everyone look like Taylor Swift and Chris Evans.”
As for Taylor’s fondness for Aran knits, she may have been introduced to the beauty of the traditional Aran when she was in the lap of the Kennedy clan in Hyannis Port. She dated Conor Kennedy, the son of Robert F Kennedy Jr in 2012.
On the other hand, the singer has previously been dressed by Kerry-born New York-based couturier Don O’Neill, who often wears his Ballyheigue Aran sweater in Brooklyn.
Taylor may also have picked up a penchant for cable knitting when she spent Christmas in Ireland last year.
She spent more than 700 years in Glin Castle, Co Limerick, the home of the Fitzgerald family, with actor boyfriend Joe Alwyn.
The Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) posted on social media yesterday about Taylor wearing her sweater, noting that “the beautiful and modest Irish Aran continues to illuminate global fashion and culture.”
Brian McGee, DCCI Director of Market Development, said, “Irish knitwear producers really need this welcome boost. The beauty of selling online means that customers can buy it and have it delivered directly to the Wild Atlantic Way to their home in Beijing or Baltimore. “
Young knitwear designer Colin Burke of Co Galway, who works with traditional Aran stitches and knitters in the Aran Islands, responded positively to Taylor’s fashion choice and said, “It is great to see Ireland’s heritage in such a modern context is brought.
“It just goes to show that there is a wider audience for this type of product. Some people may take it for granted, but there is such a great appeal outside Ireland.”
Triona Lillis of The Tweed Project in Galway, who interprets traditional Irish knits with a contemporary twist, said: “Taylor has worked with [musical artists] The National and Bon Iver. She goes out of her way in hipster cool and what better way to do it than wearing an Aran sweater. “
Taylor clearly has cable knitting in her head.
In a video for her new album, the singer is wearing a knitted acrylic V-neck cardigan. It now sells as merchandise for $ 49 (€ 42) on its website.