Monday, 15 October 2012

Wool Week 2012: I Wasn't Born, I Was Knitted

Sister by Sibling Knitwear S/S13 Wool Week
The knitwear genius of Sister by Sibling at London Fashion Week, working a toile print (S/S13).

You may not be aware of the dearth of 'national/international [insert common theme, such as toilet paper, embarrassing medical condition or random emotion] week' publicity drives that take place throughout the year, but this time around there's a pretty worthy one that should be on your agenda: Wool Week. It's a global event that puts this 'most versatile and natural fibre' (thank you, official website) in the spotlight. 

As I've grown up surrounded by knitting - no, not in a strange wooly commune, but in the midst of my mother's favourite habit and a much-loved Jemima Puddleduck pullover from my childhood - it's become second nature to me to seek out the perfect pattern. I will lust over knitted designer delights or pure wool coats from COS and try to save up my pennies. Sadly I haven't inherited the family knitting gene and I cannot work out how to 'purl one' or 'cast off', let alone 'cast on', but I have a deep-seated envy for those who take to it naturally and can churn out a jumper or two in the space of watching one series of Downton Abbey.

To celebrate Wool Week 2012 and to cope with my inability to join a knitting club, here are three reasons to love wool even more:

1. You can be any age and get away with wearing it; there's no such thing as 'slutty wool' (good grief. Well, maybe a woolen mankini would raise a few eyebrows, but thankfully I haven't spotted one yet) and you can't really get called 'mutton dressed as lamb' (yup, sheep jokes, wool, enough said) for putting on a nice jumper. Anyone from babies to geriatrics can make it look good.

2. Back in the days of university, I learned that woolen cloaks were something of a staple item during the Renaissance and they were something to be feared as well as utilised. You could turn your cloak into a fairly respectable tent or rain shield if you needed to, and it was great for keeping out the cold, but also you could hide behind it and disguise your appearance. A group of people wearing cloaks and approaching you commanded the same level of fear as a bunch of teenagers in hoodies does today.

3. There have been some unforgettable fashion looks involving wool, and I'm sure there will be many more to come. Think of Vivienne Westwood's tartan, Chanel Tweed jackets, Raf Simons' powder pink elegant coats for his final collection at Jil Sander... How about Mark Fast's intricate woven dresses, or Markus Lupfer's sequinned intarsia jumpers? They're all made with wool. 

Wool Week 2012
 Topshop gets in on the act with this design by Henrietta Jerram. Image via the Campaign for Wool

So, fashion lovers, it's time to wear your heart on your sleeve and celebrate all things knitted.

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