The History of the Cable Knit Sweater

    Nothing radiates casual refinement like a cable knit sweater: a garment that’s both timeless and fashionable. It can transcend the ever-changing landscape of style trends and will always make people wonder whether you're a self-made millionaire or a man devoted to practical outfits whatever the occasion.

    Knitwear is the ideal choice for stylish combinations, making it a versatile and indispensable garment in your winter wardrobe, as it will perfectly fit with tees or collared shirts. Classic cable knit garments are enduring items: their intricate and unique patterns make them an antithesis of fast fashion.

    Although knitting is a traditional craft, dating back to Ancient Egypt, the history of cable-knit sweaters is "just" 100 years old, and started in the fishing communities of the Aran Islands, on the west coast of Ireland.

    Let’s explore the fascinating rise to success of cable knitwear.

    The History

    Cable knit sweaters as we know them today were originally crafted for seafaring. Around 1900, on the Irish islands of Aran, women started knitting sweaters which kept fishermen warm while at sea. The primary purpose of the popular all-over patterning was to make the garments thicker and warmer and add decoration.

    The local community adopted the tradition of knitted Guernsey jumpers from the British and Scottish fishermen and made some improvements: traditionally knitted from untreated yarn, the Aran sweaters are water repellent and hence protect from both rain and the turbulent weather of the Atlantic Ocean.

    Even though they started gaining popularity in the 1920s, it wasn't until the 1950s that knit jumpers became the global-market commodity they are today. Thanks to a cable knit article published by Vogue in 1958, the characteristic patterns of the Aran sweater reached America and became a fashion statement across economic groups and social status.

    The rest, as they say, is history: From the King of Rock and Roll to John F. Kennedy, from Steve McQueen, Aran knitwear has remained popular and been able to reinvent itself for decades without losing its authentic, timeless appeal.

    Elvis Presley

    The cable knit funnel neck Elvis wore in Jailhouse Rock (1957) popularised the Aran sweater as a symbol of a generation. The contrast in texture between the sweater's intricate patterns and the plain trousers, together with the collar up in a rebellious fashion, showed the knitwear's practicality and versatility to the world.

    Steve McQueen

    You may say the “king of cool” single-handedly changed men’s casual style in the 1960s, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he even took part in the knitwear’s ascent to worldwide success. Steve McQueen’s favourite cable knit sweater displayed a traditional Aran knitting pattern, symbolising wealth and success.

    Chris Evans

    In the movie "Knives Out", Evans's sweater is also woven in the traditional Aran Islands style. When the movie came out in 2019, his outfit went viral and started an online "sweater mania" that resulted in many knitwear retailers doubling or even tripling their sales overnight.

    Introducing our cable knit designs

    Luca Faloni's cable zip sweaters are the ideal companions for your everyday wear, thanks to their versatile design. Knitted in Northern Italy with 100% two-ply pure cashmere, our cable knit collection showcases a classic design and timeless textured pattern perfect for casual but distinguished looks. This cosy funnel collar design has ribbed cuffs and hem so it fits comfortably.

    Cashmere Cable Knit

    Cashmere Cable Knit Zip-ups

    Cashmere Cable Knit Roll Necks