Introducing Guernsey Woollens to Friends of Fred
Monday, 5th Nov 2012
Fred Perry is pleased to introduce the Guernsey Woollens to the Friends of Fred fold for Autumn Winter, 2012. The company have been crafting traditional knitwear from their Guernsey workshop for over 30 years. Both design and production are based on the small island (officially known as the Bailiwick of Guernsey), which lies to the south west of mainland Britain. The island, which is just 78km2 is famed for its traditional dairy farming, knitting and fishing industries.
The Guernsey knitting industry has a long and colourful history, including a royal following! It is rumoured that Queen Elizabeth (1558 to 1603) owned articles of the island's knitwear, and Mary Queen of Scots even wore her Guernsey hose (similar to a modern day pair of tights) to her own execution. However, it was in the 17th Century, when the knitwear industry truly flourished, as the knitted jumpers found favour with seafarers around the British Isles.
The pioneering wives of the island's fishermen had developed a special garment for their husbands – a jumper that was warm, hardwearing, comfortable and most importantly capable of repelling rain and spray. The hard twist given to the tightly packed wool fibres in the spinning process and the tightly knitted stitches made sure water ‘rolled off’ the jumpers. Each parish (community) within Guernsey had their own knit pattern to ensure any sailors lost overboard could be identified, and on a brighter note a misplaced jumper could be returned to its rightful owner.
For Autumn/Winter 2012, Guernsey Woollens have produced a limited number of traditonal pure British wool sweaters complete with our signature Laurel Wreath embroidery on the chest. The style retains many of its original design features, the rib at the top of the sleeve is said to represent a sailing ship's rope ladder in the rigging, the raised seam across the shoulder, a rope, and the garter stitch panel mimics waves breaking upon the beach.