Guest post by Liberty Leonard-Shaw
Tomorrow, the Selvedge team will take part in the Save The Children Christmas Jumper Day, donating £2 for every subscription sold. Taking part in such a huge pop-culture phenomenon such as this led us to wonder about the history of the Christmas jumper, and why they have ended up as popular as they are today.
The first jumpers that resembled today's familiar designs can be traced back to Scandinavian fishermen in the early 1900s, who wore the jumpers as a means of remaining visible from far distances at sea. Consisting of geometric patterns, now popular in Fair Isle Knits, the heavy, warm sweaters were hand knitted in Scandinavia, Iceland and the Outer Hebrides.
Later on in the 20th century, pop culture and the growing popularity of knitwear in the 1960s saw Christmas cardigans used more prominently in advertising campaigns. Subsequently, during the seventies their style became officially associated with Christmas, and began popping up on the catwalks of throughout the eighties and nineties.
Perhaps the most notable of Christmas jumper appearances on the big screen was in the 2001 hit ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’. In fact, the reindeer on Darcy’s jumper in the film could point to its exponential popularity growth, leading to office Christmas parties and ugly jumper competitions now almost synonymous with the month of December. Instead of opting for the usual look, this year Selvedge suggests you try something more traditional, inspired by the fishermen of the North Atlantic all those years ago...