Fair Isle is Chic for Fall/Winter 2010
October 16, 2010 4 Comments
Nestled between the Shetland and Orkney Islands just off the coast of Scotland, is a tiny island of around 70 people distributed over 3 square miles known as the Fair Isle. Not known for much outside its fishing and its bird watching observatory, it’s hard to believe that a place so small and so remote could in any way have an influence on fashion – especially with a global reach. It took a couple of hundred years, but it eventually did.
A shipwreck of 300 Spanish seamen on the island in 1558 was the supposed spark that inspired the knitted pattern. Almost four centuries would go by from its birth in the obscurity of the North Sea, to becoming a bona fide fashion trend. It was a photograph of the Prince of Wales, who would later become King Edward VIII, golfing in a Fair Isle sweater vest that first turned the Fair Isle knit into a popular fashion trend back in 1921.
The pattern has been around ever since and has made a huge comeback in both the men’s and women’s runways for Fall/Winter 2010. Popular in chunky knit sweaters, we’re also seeing the knit show up in cardigans, mittens, and scarves as well. I love Fair Isle knits and my only piece of advice aside of going out and buying some, is to be careful to not go too matchy matchy. If you’re going to wear Fair Isle mittens with a matching scarf for example, keep the rest of the outfit simple and vice versa. The key is to make sure that your Fair Isle knitwear doesn’t clash or distract from the impact its designed to deliver.