Why we love knitwear

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You know that cardigan/jersey/large furry thing you’ve pulled from the back of the closet to shelter you from the chill snaking its way into November? (Hint) it’s not your cat. Here are four of pioneers of knitwear you need to thank for your indispensable knitwear.


Gabrielle ‘’Coco’’ Chanel caused quite a raucous when she used a jersey in 1916, a time where it was associated with underwear, and prior to that fisherman in Jersey. Chanel’s wonderfully simplistic knitted, tubular dresses became one of her numerous trademarks, and Chanel negotiated the exclusive rights to jersey-knit material from Eugene Rodier. For the piece that helped democratize women’s fashion, Vogue hailed the designer for making ‘”jersey what it is today – we hope she’s satisfied’’.


Jean Patou
Revered as one of the pioneers of modernist fashion, Jean Patou’s classics included the ‘cubist’ sweaters, geometric shape inserts and the use of his monogram as a design feature. As Margo Seaman points out, Patou not only had a creative but a business-snavvy head between those two fashionable shoulders, and by, ‘’adding coordinating skirts, scarves, hates and other accessories, he increased his overall sales. Patou revolutionized the knitting industry with machine production, which meant greater productivity and greater profits.’’ He helped make your sweaters accessible and coordinated. As Patou said himself, “the modern woman leads an active life, and the creator must therefore dress her accordingly, in the most simple way, whilst maintaining her charm and femininity.”


Sonia Rykiel

Sonia Rykiel marries the practical with a persuasive dedication to the female form. Rykiel modelled the customer on her own desire to wear something to show off her feminine curves. She designed the figure hugging ribbed sweater, which catapulted her into the Parisian fashion scene from her husband’s boutique. French Elle dubbed the highly desirable knitwear (some of the first customers were Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot) ‘the poor boy’ in 1963. On her knitwear, Rykiel says, “I realised that beauty was nudity. I wanted women wearing my sweaters to give the impression they were naked. The aim wasn’t to impose outfits but to stay as close as possible to women’s bodies and their freedom of movement.” The second-skin style the clung to cambers, and successfully went against the thick stitch trend of the times.


Irakli Nasidze

Inspired by the ancient works of art in his country, Georgia, and the lavish landscapes of Caucasus, Iraki Nasidze is the most modern fashion designer on this list. Many have noted that his works are almost architectural in their crevices, which is especially relevant to his plush knitwear collection. And if that wasn’t arty enough for you, his website explains that he ‘” is not a fashion designer, it is a complete artist is “artist goldsmith” which come together in a unique style clarity and exuberance, registering in the ‘ART SEWN’ he sets himself the rules and principles and he claims all his talent ever since.”



Georgia van Gils – Journalism student at the University of Gloucestershire

This is part of the CFW and University of Gloucestershire collision

Twitter – @GeorgiaBelinda