Six Facts About Aran Sweaters


In most cases a sweater is just a sweater, but when it comes to an Aran sweater, there are some very interesting things you may not know about them.


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The Island Origins

This sweater takes its name from a group of islands off the coast of Ireland. They were knitted there by women to keep farmers and fishermen warm, leading them to also be called Fisherman sweaters.

Patterns Have Meanings

Much like a clan tartan, each pattern on these sweaters tells a story and could be used to show which family the wearer came from. The stitches include honeycomb, symbolising a worker bee hard at it. Diamonds are for success and good health. Cables represent a fisherman’s ropes. Good fortune and love were literally woven into the items by hand.


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Clever Materials

Original Aran sweaters were waterproof due to the use of unscoured wool when they were being knitted. Wool contains natural lanolin, which causes it to be water-resistant. Nowadays you’re much more likely to find a mens crew neck Aran sweater made of luxurious soft Merino wool, such as those from The sweaters allow wearers to maintain an even body temperature due to their breathable natural wool, which is another bonus. They look good and are functional.

Loved by Celebrities

The popularity of Aran sweaters jumped in the 1950s when style icon Grace Kelly wore one on the cover of Vogue magazine. The sweaters became famous the world over and could be seen on everyone from Elvis to the uber-cool Steve McQueen. The humble sweater from the little islands in Ireland was now known globally and popularity went through the roof.

Handmade Works of Art

One sweater can include one hundred thousand stitches, painstakingly put together to create a masterpiece! These aren’t your run-of-the-mill fashion items mass-produced in a factory somewhere.

Down in Fashion History

New York’s Museum of Modern Art included the Aran sweater in its 2017 ‘Is Fashion Modern’ exhibit. They chose influential items of clothing from the last 100 years, and the humble Irish sweater, produced for manual workers, made the cut.

What on the face of it appears to be just another wool jumper has a mass of history and meaning attached that most wearers have never even considered.