According to historian Siun Carden, quoting Anthony Patterson, Aran jumpers have become synonymous with ‘Brand Ireland’ – as ubiquitous as Guinness, shamrocks, leprechauns etc. If you walk into any Irish gift shop across the island of Ireland, you will see Aran jumpers or other woollen items inspired by Aran knitting. Aran knitting is synonymous with the traditional image of Ireland and Irish people. Though the Aran jumper you bought for fifty euros is probably not knitted on the island of Ireland and most certainly not from wool from Irish sheep. Aran jumpers are a timeless, fashionable, and practicable addition to any wardrobe as they never seem to go out of fashion.
Want to more about late 19th and early 20th century fashion and dress? Then read on for more insights and thoughts from me on a fantastic fashion exhibition I visited in August in Hamburg, Germany!
As always I cannot say ‘no’ to visiting either a good local museum and if that local museum just happens to have a fashion exhibition on when I visit I am doubly excited. This happened last month when I visited Hamburg to meet friends and spent a morning in the Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (Museum of Fine and Applied Arts – I think!). This museum had a summer exhibition entitled ‘Dressed. 7 Frauen – 200 Jahre Mode‘ or ‘Dressed. 7 Frauen – 200 Years of Fashion’ (the exhibition closed on 28th August), which told the story of fashion from the past 200 years through the clothing of seven women either from Hamburg or other parts of Germany.
As the beginning of the academic year fast approaches students are once again thinking of what to wear to university. To those who are inclined to vintage inspired academic looks then looking back at what past female graduates wore might prove some inspiration for your sartorial choices for this coming academic year. Alas I am not attending a university at a red-brick university strewn with autumnal leaves but can live vicariously through others! One of my favourite clothing websites Miss. Patina even has a new section on their website inspired by Edwardian inspired academic looks! These looking Victorian, not Edwardian, ladies are the ‘Nine Graces’ the first nine ladies to graduate from any university in Ireland in 1884. If it wasn’t because of these women I would not be a 21st century female graduate!
Pictured above is perhaps the most famous Irish designer of the twentieth century, Sybil Connolly. Famous for dressing Princess Grace of Monaco and Jackie Kennedy amongst a plethora of famous clients. Connolly made her mark in the 1950s and 1960s with her dresses made out linen, tweed, and wool and highly influenced by imagery of traditional Ireland of cottages, shawlie women, the rugged west of Ireland, and other associated images.