If you’re an avid-cinema goer, a film costume fanatic, or a person with links to the emerald isle, you’ll have heard that the magnificent film, The Banshee’s of Inisherin is heading to the oscars next week with 9 nominations in the bank. Martin McDonagh has struck gold again, as he beautifully (and at times, harrowingly) depicts a time in Ireland gone by, in a fictional island off the west coast, where simple lives play out in simple ways. That is, of course, until character, Colm, played by Brendan Gleeson abruptly ends his lifelong friendship with Pádraic, played by Colin Farrell. In the ever-alarming and at times gruesome style of McDonagh, audiences accompany Pádraic on a tumultuous journey as he tries to understand and reconcile his friendship with his treasured Colm. If you’re familiar with McDonagh’s previous work, you’ll know that this journey could not ever be one of simplicity, and a happy ending was never on the cards. After two hours of cinematic brilliance, emotional turbulence and a series of unsettling twists and turns, the audience are left feeling exasperated, moved and for the fashion-focused among us, asking, “what genius crafted that exceptional knitwear?”
For us here at Aran Woollen Mills, the beauty, timelessness and admirable craftsmanship of Aran knitwear has always been something we deeply understood and cherished. However, it truly is incredible to see the rest of the world give Aran sweaters and traditional stitching the limelight they deserve.
Though this film is set in a fictional Ireland, circa 1923, the knitwear carries with it a balance of traditional style and structure alongside colours and fits that wouldn’t be misplaced within a contemporary collection. The team at Aran Woollen Mills fell in love with Colin Farrell’s deep red knit, which showcases a timeless large collar and a perfectly crafted moss stitch, in homage to the traditional fisherman’s sweater of the era. As our in-house designers know too well, such perfectly crafted pieces take much skill and precision, and it’s no surprise to us that these masterpieces were hand-knit by an incredibly talented knitter, Delia Barry.
Delia, a Tipperary native, now in her 80s, shared that she crafted each knit for the film in around seven days, and was given the task by costume designer, Eimer Ní Mhaoldomhnaigh. Much like the Aran Woollen Mills designers, Eimer took inspiration from the Irish landscape, its colours and its varying textures. Delia was given some old, black and white images of fishermen of this era to work from, and you can imagine, this wouldn’t have been the easiest task. Without high quality photography, we imagine Delia would have had to inject a healthy dose of creativity into every knit to really bring it to life, making this knitwear all the more enchanting.
What we love most about the work that both Delia and Eimer have achieved, is the way they paid homage to the history, tradition and importance of Ireland’s Aran heritage, while simultaneously championing cutting edge cuts, perfectly crafted fits and striking colours. Brendan Gleeson’s round neck sweater was crafted in a beautiful, deep green and though simple, showcases a beautiful rope cable detail at each side from the shoulder to the underarm. This simplicity speaks to the modern style of Aran knitwear, while still slotting perfectly into a 1920’s Ireland. Seeing traditional knitwear as part of this illusionary, fictional Ireland is exciting for us, as we unearth a new layer of Aran magic. We often speak about how Aran knitwear is rooted in the past but looking towards the future, and Mhaoldomhnaigh’s work communicates this to perfection.
For us, we feel an immense sense of pride when we see the Aran tradition taking to the world stage and holding its own in a world of high-fashion. Sustainability, quality and comfort are being championed, Ireland’s traditions are being remembered and the craftsmanship of our Aran heritage is being celebrated globally. We couldn’t feel more excited about what that means for the future of costume and clothing, and we feel honoured to have the chance to share in that with you.
Have you had a chance to choose your perfect Aran yet?
It’s made its way to the Oscars. It’s about time it found its way to your wardrobe.
Discover Aran here!