Aran jumper chosen as one of world’s most iconic fashions

MoMA exhibition explores the most iconic garments and accessories over the last century

A cyclist in 1961 wearing an Aran jumper with a polo neck. Photograph: Chaloner Woods/Getty Images

A cyclist in 1961 wearing an Aran jumper with a polo neck. Photograph: Chaloner Woods/Getty Images

 

The Aran jumper has been chosen as one of the world’s most iconic fashion designs for a new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA).

An Aran jumper from the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, at Turlough Park in Castlebar, Co Mayo is set to feature in the exhibition which opens this autumn and explores 111 of the most iconic fashion garments and accessories over the last century.

The history and impact of the Aran jumper will be explored in Items: Is Fashion Modern? alongside well-known fashion designs such as a pair of Levi’s 501 jeans from the 1940s, a biker jacket from the 1950s, a 1960s Breton shirt and a collection of little black dresses.

The Aran jumper, which is going on loan from Ireland’s National Folklore Collection at Turlough Park, is currently being prepared by the conservation team at the National Museum of Ireland and will be transported to the MoMA ahead of the exhibition opening on October 1st.

According to the MoMA, each of the 111 items in the exhibition were chosen because they have had a “profound impact on the world over the last century”.

The Aran jumper in question is a cream, knitted piece from 1940 and made from a heavy, scoured wool while the patterns are different front and back.

Tony Candon, manager of the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life said,“Aran sweaters are a powerful expression of the creativity of the Irish folk craft tradition and we are very happy that this is being recognised through inclusion in this important exhibition.

“Through their association with the Irish folk singers, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, they achieved huge international popularity and were worn by celebrities such as Steve McQueen and Grace Kelly.”

Clodagh Doyle, curator at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life described it as “magnificent” that “a piece of our folk heritage will represent our country and one of our traditional crafts in this exhibition of ground-breaking fashion essentials”.

“This Aran jumper came into the National Museum of Ireland in 1942 from the Irish Homespun Society, which was founded by Muriel Gahan,” Ms Doyle added.

“Irish knitwear design has come a long way since she set up The Country Shop in 1930 to sell home crafts in a flagship Dublin store.”

For some 30 items in the exhibition, MoMA has also invited designers, artists, scientists and engineers to respond to the designs with pioneering approaches, materials and techniques to create a prototype item for the exhibition.

The Aran jumper has been chosen among these 30 pieces and one of South Africa’s leading knitwear designers Laduma Ngxokolo has been commissioned to create the inspired art piece.

Items: Is Fashion Modern? opens on October 1st and continues until January 28th, 2018 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Ireland’s National Folklore Collection and other early Aran knitwear can be viewed at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Turlough Park, Castelbar, Co Mayo.