Maybe you've noticed a bit of a chill in the air of late. Perhaps the specter of frosty days looming on the horizon has entered your consciousness, and you've put your lighter layers and aloha shirts to bed at the bottom of your wardrobe. As the cooler weather becomes more frequent, your inner sartorial clock tells you it's time to layer up with something more substantial. It's knitwear season. The past few years have seen designers take a renewed interest in traditional knitwear, who along with most discerning dressers recognize the practical and aesthetic merits of knitwear.
The Fair Isle Knit is perfect for gents who want to pep up their style regimen with a punch of pattern and colour. Originating from the remote Shetland Island of Fair Isle, this intricate weaving technique is characterized by its ornate and complex patterns, composed of multiple-coloured strands of wool. Developed by the island's womenfolk, the technique was woven by hand using double-pointed needles and featured motifs inspired by everyday life on the island. It's widely thought to have been brought to the island by Nordic sea traders, whilst other apparel historians believe that the Fair Isle pattern arrived in the Shetland Islands via Spanish Armada sailors wrecked off the island's coast, owing to its resemblance to traditional Moorish motifs.
Whatever its origins, Fair Isle knits provide exceptional warmth due to a closely-formed weave and also enrich the decorative element of drab, cold-weather closets. You'll find some great Fair Isle jumpers at Hackett, H&M, River Island and Topman. However, if you want a brand that stick to the practical and aesthetic merits of the Fair Isle knit then look no further than QuiQue (pronounced key-kay).
Mary Davis, the designer behind knitwear collections for Ralph Lauren, Mulberry and Barney', has added yet another brand to her long list of collections by creating a fresh and unique knit for QuiQue. Like you would expect from any knit, this AW14 collection will keep every man fashionably warm. QuiQue produce a very high end knit that is handmade in the United Kingdom. The designers wanted to recreate the classic knit design with one new element; colour, pattern, or cut to add a touch of modern intrigue and a twist. I think they have done just that, don't you? I think what sets this collection apart from others is its personal and intimate feel given to every stitch. This is a brand certainly worth watching in the future. Check them out here: QuiQue.
As we have seen, the the Fair Isle knits of today represent centuries of culturally-rich sartorial engineering. With the fundamental elements of their design remaining unaltered, Fair Isle knits are not merely a fad - they've been serving their purpose for generations, and with their practical and aesthetic appeal will continue to have a place in the modern man's wardrobe.