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The New Aran Fisherman's Sweater

A collaboration between Inis Meáin knitwear company and Sphere One forms the centrepiece of Inis Meáin’s Autumn Winter 2017 collection - The New Aran Fisherman’s Sweater. Sphere One reimagined the Aran fisherman’s sweater for Inis Meáin, drawing inspiration from the tradition of women knitters on the Aran Islands, the smallest of which is Inis Meáin.

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This island community on the west coast of Ireland, on the furthest edge of Europe, traditionally knit sweaters for their men folk to provide warmth, protection and comfort while out fishing the often wild Atlantic.

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This collaboration takes the traditional knit, well known in our sub conscience, and applies a new and careful approach. The ubiquitous Aran type cabling has been often copied, and is typically about how an Aran looks and not, as in this case, about how it acts. The resulting garment ­— complex to knit and construct, is a truly original, technically detailed Aran, experimental by design and utilitarian for the modern hardworking fisherman of today

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The high back neck provides comfort without impacting the fisherman’s critical visibility, and is lined with warming cashmere for exposed areas. There are finer gauge underarm gussets, with pointelles for aeration, in pure cashmere that can be replaced as they wear. The seams and label are on the outside of the sweater to reduce friction for added comfort. Around the neck area, prone to wetting in inclement weather, there is a shoulder yoke in waterproof oiled lanolin wool. There is also extra padded protection for the forearm when pulling lobster pots.

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‘ In thinking about this project, I simply imagined myself as a knitter on Inis Meáin in the 1950s, and wondered what her contemporary descendant might knit for someone she really cares about out on the seas. That impulse from maker to wearer, the thoughtfulness to cosset and protect, is the kernel of excitement for me in this collaboration with Inis Meáin, along with the technical challenge that the functionality of the garment calls for. ’

Lucy Downes, Creator of Sphere One

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The Inis Meáin x Sphere One New Aran Fisherman's Sweater for Autumn Winter 2017 reimagines the Aran for today through design, experimentation and technicality to offer the ultimate protection and comfort, with respect and acknowledgement for the generations of knitters on Inis Meáin.