| 16.6°C Dublin

Taylor-made: Boost for the Irish craft industry as pop star wears Aran jumper to promote new album

Close

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift

The humble Aran geansaí strikes again and this time it is singer Taylor Swift who is putting an international focus on the traditional Irish knit.

The craft sector here, which is facing a tough year, has its fingers crossed that Swift's fans and 137 million Instagram followers might follow her style example.

The question is: Did Taylor realise the meaning of the knitted stitches when she pulled on the creamy jumper to promote her eighth studio album, 'Folklore', released yesterday?

Close

Taylor Swift wears a V-neck cardigan

Taylor Swift wears a V-neck cardigan

Taylor Swift wears a V-neck cardigan

Taylor wears a roll-neck Aran-style sweater, decorated with striking raised diamond stitches across the shoulders and sleeves, featuring cable stitches of varying sizes running down the body.

The diamond stitch, which resembles a fisherman's mesh net, is the symbol for wealth and success, and it is filled in with a basket stitch, which symbolises the fisherman's basket and the desire for a big catch. Every stitch in Aran knitting carries its own meaning and the cables down the front represent a fisherman's ropes while the plaited cable is about the interweaving of family life.

Taylor's decision to wear the heritage stitch-inspired modern jumper yesterday thrilled the Irish craft sector, which last year enjoyed commercial ripples when actor Chris Evans wore a chunky Aran in the Hollywood film 'Knives Out'.

A viral tweet triggered a hunky boyfriend Aran jumper zeal - similar to the frenzy over Connell's silver chain in 'Normal People'.

Close

Chris Evans in Knives Out

Chris Evans in Knives Out

Chris Evans in Knives Out

The origins of the cream, possibly machine-knit jumper which Taylor wore to promote her album was not known yesterday.

The Embassy of Ireland USA jumped on Twitter quickly to post the photos and wrote: "Yes, we can confirm that an Aran sweater is absolutely guaranteed to make anyone look like Taylor Swift and Chris Evans."

As for Taylor's penchant for Aran knits, she may well have been introduced to the beauty of the traditional Aran when she was in the bosom 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 been previously 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 knits when she spent Christmas in Ireland last year.

She stayed at Glin Castle, Co Limerick, the home of the Fitzgerald family for over 700 years, with actor boyfriend, Joe Alwyn.

The Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) yesterday posted on social media about Taylor wearing her jumper and commented the "beautiful and humble Irish Aran continues to light up global fashion and culture".

Brian McGee, DCCI market development director, said: "Ireland's knitwear producers really need this welcome boost. The beauty of online selling means the customers can purchase and have it delivered directly from the Wild Atlantic Way to their home in Beijing or Baltimore."

Young knitwear designer Colin Burke, from Co Galway, who works with traditional Aran stitches and knitters on the Aran Islands, reacted to Taylor's fashion choice positively, saying: "It's great to see that Irish heritage is bring brought through to such a modern context.

"It just shows there is a wider audience for this type of product. Some people might take it for granted but there is such a mass appeal for it outside Ireland."

Triona Lillis from The Tweed Project in Galway, who interprets traditional Irish knits with a contemporary twist, said: "Taylor has been working with [musical artists] The National and Bon Iver. She is upping her ante in hipster cool and what better way to do it than wearing an Aran jumper."

Taylor clearly has cable knits on her mind.

In a video for her new album, the singer wears a V-neck cable-knit acrylic cardigan. It now sells as merchandise for $49 (€42) on her website.

Irish Independent