From grandma to runway: the evolution of knitwear

Knitwear, once known as being the cozy, handmade sweater lovingly crafted by grandmothers around the world, has gone through quite the transformation over the years. What was once associated with old fashioned style, is now a modern and very popular piece. In this article, we’ll take a short look at the evolution of knitwear and see how it became so popular recently, and why you should embrace this trend as well. Read along for a walk down memory lane.

The humble beginnings

The history of knitwear dates back centuries, with its origins traced to ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, who used a form of knitting as early as the 3rd century. However, it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that knitting as we know it began to take shape. During this period, it was primarily a domestic craft, with women handcrafting garments for their families.

Grandma’s touch

For many, knitwear is forever associated with the warmth of a grandmother’s love. The personal touch and individuality of these handcrafted pieces were cherished and treasured. Each grandmother’s knitting often included timeless classics like cable-knit cardigans, Fair Isle sweaters, and the iconic Aran sweater, known for its intricate stitch patterns. You can still find traditional Aran cardigans here: https://www.keilys.com/irish-cardigans.html These garments represent a rich symbol of traditions, passed down through generations. The value of hand-knit items was not just in their functionality but also in the labor of love added to each stitch.

The Fashion Evolution

As the world of fashion continued to evolve, knitwear started to go from practicality to style. The mid-20th century saw the rise of iconic designers such as Coco Chanel, who played a huge role in introducing knitwear into the world of high fashion. Chanel’s classic twinset, consisting of a knitted cardigan and matching top, challenged the traditional notions of what knitwear could be. Chic and versatile, the twinset became a symbol of elegance and femininity, giving knitwear a way to get into the wardrobes of the fashion elite. High-quality knits became a favorite among the upper class of society, replacing bulky, handmade garments with sleek, tailored pieces.


Today, knitwear keeps its place high on the runway and in the fashion industry as a whole. Designers such as Alexander McQueen, Marc Jacobs, and Christopher Kane have embraced knitwear as a key component of their collections, pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved with this versatile piece. Knitwear is no longer limited to classic silhouettes; it has transformed into avant garde designs, experimental shapes, and impressive technology. From oversized knit dresses to unique sweaters, knitwear is now an art form that combines traditional techniques with modern innovation.


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