If you are looking for a wardrobe refresh, but you aren’t sure where to start, opting for heirloom classics is always a good idea. Aran knitwear is a byword for style, but before purchasing an investment piece, it is worth getting informed about all your options. Knowing the history and meaning behind your Aran, as well as its fashion credentials, will only make wearing it more pleasurable. So here’s an overview of the ways in which Aran brings style and tradition together, and the top things to look for when choosing your Aran.
Why choose Aran knitwear?
Support a heritage tradition
Each piece of Aran knitwear continues a rich and historic tradition, linking you to many years of cultural heritage from the west of Ireland. Whether you have a family history in the area or are simply captivated by the beautiful landscapes, crafts, and culture of the Aran Islands, there is no better way to honor your passion than by purchasing Aran – supporting artisans to continue their craft, supporting the local economy, and giving you a precious and practical sweater in return.
Aran sweaters represent the very opposite of fast fashion. The natural materials have a much less harmful impact on the environment, whilst their long-lasting nature means you will be able to enjoy your Aran fisherman sweater for many years to come.
The long-lasting nature of an Aran sweater is fortunately matched by its long-lasting style credentials. From Grace Kelly in the 1950s to contemporary celebrities, the Aran fisherman’s-style sweater has never been out of style. Your Aran will become a family heirloom that your children will be thrilled to wear!
An Aran fisherman sweater is a pleasure to style. Whether you are going for a countryside stomp and pairing it with jeans and boots; or an evening with friends over a floral dress, your Aran will always look the part. Never have a day where you feel like you have nothing to wear again!
Easy to care for
Aran sweaters have special properties, allowing them to repel dirt and smells. They will very rarely need washing – instead, simply hang them outside or by an open window to air. If yours does need washing, it should be hand washed according to the label instructions, using special wool-specific detergent, and then laid flat to dry in its correct shape. You should never tumble dry your Aran!
What should you look for when buying Aran?
So you’re set on purchasing a timeless piece of Aran – but there are so many great options, it is hard to choose! Here are a few tips to help you make the right decision.
Choosing a knitting style
Typically there are three variations in the production method for Aran, each with its own qualities and benefits. You will be choosing between:
- Hand-knit Aran – these are hand-made by artisans in the authentically traditional style. A fisherman’s sweater made in the traditional way contains around 100,000 stitches and can take a knitter as much as sixty days to complete. Hand knitting takes many hours and huge skill, and this will be reflected in the price – but also in the extremely high quality of the products. They are usually woven from thicker yarn, last longer, and have very distinct designs. If you have the budget, this is the very finest Aran available, and perpetuates an age-old tradition, truly uniting it with modern style.
- Hand-loomed Aran – this type of fisherman’s sweater is made on a loom which is directly controlled by a person. So it still requires artisan skills and results in a very high-quality product. The process is more time efficient, though, and this is reflected in the price. A skilled hand-loom weaver will be able to control certain aspects of the design, but the method does not result in as unique a product as hand-knitting.
- Machine knit Aran – these Irish sweaters have all the necessary features to make them authentically Aran (made of the right wool, to the right patterns) – but they are mass-produced, and so lack the individuality and true heritage connection of their more expensive counterparts. Although the quality is typically lower, this is reflected in the price, and so it could be considered a good gateway to the world of Aran!
Choosing your Aran retailer
With many suppliers of Aran out there, it can be hard to know where to get reliably good quality products and great customer service. Here’s what to look for:
A key feature of Aran is the use of Irish wool. A good supplier of Aran knitwear should make it clear that the products you are looking at are made from local Irish wool, and where the products are made as well. Only trust a retailer who can make the origins of their products and their true roots in the Aran community clear – otherwise, you risk receiving knitwear that isn’t a true Aran knit.
It makes sense to shop from an established retailer with a wide range of products – giving you the widest choice and meaning you can select the colors and shapes that suit you best. Once you hit on a style that you like, it’s great to have the option to buy it again in a different color!
Aran Sweater Market – the original home of the Aran sweater
If you are looking for Aran products that truly bring together style and tradition, look no further than Aran Sweater Market. We started out as a small community business on the Aran island of Inis Mór, gradually expanding to become one of Ireland’s leading suppliers of authentic Aran knitwear. With a huge range of choices covering everything from the most traditional to the most contemporary styles, Aran Sweater Market is a one-stop shop for all things Aran. Our roots connect us to the original Aran knitters, hand-crafting beautiful fisherman’s sweaters to keep their menfolk safe whilst out at sea. But as a leading supplier of authentic Aran wares, we provide a thoroughly 21st century service, giving you the knowledge and confidence you need to invest in the very best Aran knitwear. Begin your journey with Aran Sweater Market today!