Hands up, how many people here are between 25-35? Hands up, how many of you had a big sister who knitted? Hands up, how many of you thought she was the coolest thing on legs, and wanted to be just like her?
That would be me, me, and me.
I was thinking about this yesterday, while looking at the old Vogue Knitting covers from the 80’s. In the 80’s, knitting was incredibly cool – you’ve only got to look at how many designers of the time had knitwear as a large part of their collections to see that.
I remember my sister (my mother too, but of course I didn’t consider her to be cool) knitting mohair sweater after mohair sweater, angora cardigans with shoulder pads, popcorny cotton tank tops, intarsia tunics, the lot. And I wanted to be just like her. I had the roll-on lip gloss, the zip ankle jeans, and I learned to knit so I could knit myself a purple mohair tank top, in the hope that some of her glamour would rub off.
I wonder how much of today’s knitting renaissance has been influenced by the older sister / cool mom generation? They were influenced by the catwalks, and we were influenced by them. Is it surprising that knitters of my generation should embrace the craft? We grew up knowing it was cool, glamorous even. And now we’re putting our own 21st century spin on it.
And in a world where fashion goes in cycles, and designers regularly rip off the designs of previous generations (one of the reasons why I gave up my vintage clothing business was because every High Street store was selling vintage rip-offs, season after season), should we expect to see some of those 80’s looks coming back into knitwear design soon? No, you don’t think so? Ahem, just look at the poncho craze of a couple of years ago. It’s just a small step from the poncho of the 70’s to the mohair intarsia hip length sweater of the 80’s. You have been warned.