Aran Woollen Mills
Blending the Old with the New

Blending the Old with the New

Here at Aran Woollen Mills, you’ll often hear us talking about how we hope to fuse the old and the new, the past and the present and tradition with the future.In fact, we could easily say this is one of our greatest passions. But what does this actually mean? How are we striking the balance between what has been and what will be? And why should you care?


Today, we thought we’d take a moment to break it down for you and explain why our approach is creating knitwear for the future.

Inpsired by History, Rooted in the present

As you’ll see from our various collections, we will never abandon the rich beauty and timeless tradition of Aran stitching. Each stitch that has been gifted to us from our predecessors holds special meaning, and it’s our job to ensure those precious symbols are not forgotten. In years gone by, the symbolism behind each stitch would have meant much more to the wearer and maker than it might to the modern mind. For example, the cable stitch symbolising the fisherman’s ropes and a safe journey would have given comfort, reassurance and faith to him, his family and the community relying on his catch. Now, we may view the symbolism weaved within the stitch as somewhat of an Irish myth or an example of folklore, but the sentiment, connection to our ancestors and respect for its origin will never be abandoned when it comes to our craft. We’re passionate about preserving the stitches and their stories, and by amalgamating them with contemporary designs, we believe they’ll stick around well into the future.


Learning from Tradition, Reinventing Wool

We have much respect for our miracle resource, wool, and we’re inspired every day by those that came before us and the incredible products they were able to craft with very few resources. However, we believe there’s a way to honour tradition while still respecting the modern moment. In the past, Aran knitwear was known to be heavy, and oftentimes rough and scratchy to touch. This served the fisherman of the time well, as they needed hardy outerwear to see them through their working day. However, in the modern world, we’re a little more interested in comfort than functionality, and we wanted to make our Aran knitwear as soft and cosy as possible. Our team here at Aran Woollen Mills put their heads together and developed the Supersoft Merino wool to fulfil this role. With this yarn, we’re able to stay true to the Aran tradition, while still offering our customers a luxurious, comforting feel. The perfect fusion of the past and the present. 


Respecting the craft, Championing Collaboration

From the birth of the Aran tradition until now, much has changed. However, we’re proud to say that we still respect traditional methods of crafting, to allow for an authentic product. Our Handknit Merino products are crafted using traditional knitting methods that have been passed down through generations of makers and they truly do feel extra special. However, as well as this, we understand that times have changed, and it’s crucial that the modern customer has a chance to pay homage to the old and stay on the pulse for the new. By encouraging close collaboration between our traditional crafters and our contemporary designers, each product has a chance to become a beautiful melting pot of traditional modernity. Watching both minds work alongside each other is an incredibly unique and exciting experience, and our collections capture it perfectly. 


Made for the elements, protecting the earth


Traditionally, Aran knitwear was designed to protect fishermen from the elements at sea. Aran kept him warm from the cold wind, they kept him dry from the splash of the waves and they regulated body temperature as he worked hard to bring home an abundant catch. Then, Aran knitwear was protecting humankind from the wrath of the elements, but now, it’s our turn to protect the earth from the wrath of humanity. By choosing a traditional, authentic Aran product, our customers are making a sustainable choice for their wardrobe or home. Every product within our range is made from 100% natural wool and is 100% biodegradable. It’s unusual that a practice from the past is so kind to the earth and its future, and for that, we feel extremely lucky and proud. We’re determined to preserve the Aran tradition whilst protecting the land from which it comes, and we pledge to work hard to become more sustainable year upon year. 


Supported by Family, Welcoming Community


Aran Woollen Mills was founded by the Hughes family, and functioned as a true family business, with every member of the clan finding a role to keep things moving. The business remains family owned, with Maura Hughes’ eleventh son Vincent, now our managing director. Having strong family values at the heart of what we do is paramount to the success, quality and consistency of our products and we will never take for granted the family ethos. However, the Hughes family in recent years have been motivated to create more work for local Irish people, and expand their reach on a global scale, to connect more minds and celebrate the Aran tradition worldwide. Though our roots were found in Ireland, within the family home, we understand that connecting with others, expanding our reach and sharing in the magic of Aran with a global community is the secret to a brighter future. We’re proud to maintain the values that our humble roots have taught us, but we’re also delighted to welcome a future of collaboration, connection and community. 


We hope this has given you a little insight into the spirit of Aran Woollen Mills. We believe in the power and beauty of the Aran tradition, but we also treasure the present moment and the future of modern knitwear. Together, with a few brilliant minds, a nod to the past and an eye on the future, we can continue to create unforgettable Aran wool products that connect us to a colourful past. 


Have you had a look at the Killary Collection? For a perfect example of traditional futurism, check it out here.

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