Guernsey jumpers all the fashion in New York
VOGUE has featured Guernsey jumpers made by Guernsey Woollens.
An exhibition at New York’s Guggenheim Museum is running until 14 August which includes custom Guernsey knits stitched by Sies Marjan.
Vogue got hold of the Guernsey woollens from the exhibition.
The exhibition is part-sponsored by Sies Marjan and themed around functional garments.
Freelance designer Emma Mulligan contacted Guernsey Woollens owner Arthur Eldridge after a past JW Anderson collaboration.
Mr Eldridge said Sies Marjan had called just before Christmas to make an order for the end of January.
'I didn't know Emma was involved at this point,' he said.
'At our busiest time of year, it was the last thing we wanted to do, but we went for it anyway.'
A last-minute Christmas rush reaped big rewards with unexpected fashion industry limelight.
'We hate not doing things for folks, and in the end it all worked out brilliantly,' Mr Eldridge said.
'Afterwards Emma called saying it was going in a Guggenheim exhibition. After that, Vogue picked it up for New York Fashion Week and we had no idea.'
Two style samples were sent in three colours, all variations on a Guernsey.
'At first we sent a standard garment, which they altered to give one cropped, one boxy, and one longer garment. With minor alterations to rib widths, they were basically still a Guernsey, although non-standard garments.'
Custom patterns were sent back from Sies Marjan and compared to the originals.
'Normally we produce traditional products, but sometimes new things come in. It's cyclical, things come in and out of fashion. This industry can be a nightmare, it's impossible to sell the right amount.'
Despite irregularities, it makes for a dynamic industry and good experiences.
'All sorts of crazy things happen. We've featured in the New York Times magazine, Wall Street Journal, and Japanese magazines before, amongst others. We're still trying to find a Guernsey that was lost in Romania,' Mr Eldridge said.
Guernsey jumpers have travelled across the world.
'It's nice to see Guernseys getting a mention in other places. Certain areas seem to stick with them, like Brighton and Cornwall.'
Following the Vogue publication, product demand is expected to increase.
'They'll be orders from it scheduled in for June but we don't know what yet. We don't know how many they'll want or how long a partnership might continue, but that's just the way it goes.'
At current around 1,000 jumpers are produced by Guernsey Woollens per month, averaging around 250 per week.
With a new machine on the way to replace an old version, output is expected to increase by around 50 jumpers each week.
'Our Guernseys are completely seamless, not stitched together from separate panels. I've done this since I was 15. We've dealt with Fred Perry in the past and supply chandlery [boating suppliers], the Army, tank regiments, all sorts.'
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