It was a tweet that sent the Aran sweater viral. When a film critic at a preview in LA of the star-loaded film Knives Out observed the girl next to her gasping upon seeing Chris Evans in an Aran sweater, and saying very softly and tenderly "sweater," it racked up more than 50,000 likes. Since then the Knives Out sweater mania has resulted in similar swoonings and "sweaters only" screenings in the city with dress codes chunky Aran knits.
It has done wonders for an Irish garment traditionally associated with rugged fishermen on the Aran Islands and now an object of lust and fascination for leisured metropolitans in the US since the debut of the film.
Sites selling Arans are under siege. Blarney Woollen Mills has seen a 150 per cent lift in sales, mostly online, of its $105 honeycomb stitch Aran sweater and has increased shifts in its 38 strong factory in Kilcar, Co Donegal to cope with the demand, Blarney director Freda Kelleher says.
The sweater has been dubbed this season's "great gift for guys" and even the Knives Out Twitter account has changed its name to Chris Evans' Sweater Stan Account giving away 100 sweatshirts to fans featuring a still of Evans in his white sweater.
“I haven’t seen the movie, but a journalist from the New York Post got in touch with us a fortnight ago and told me she had bought an Aran sweater from us about 25 years ago and it had happy memories – so it’s all positive (publicity) and all thanks to the movie business,” enthuses Kelleher. “I don’t think the Aran has ever lost its appeal and though the one in the movie is not the perfect Aran, it’s a bit tatty looking, its oversize, but the more distressed it is, the cooler it is, so now the Aran is top of the hit list in America. Roll on the movie,” she says.