Fairisle Friends

How did the iconic chunky knit snowflake jumper suddenly make the transformation from the worst Christmas present from your Nan (we are discounting the socks as a present) to become a global phenomenon?

The answer has been traced back to the Danish TV drama Forbrydelsen, or The Killing to us non-Nordic speakers. The central character in the detective series, Sarah Lund, played by Sofie Gråbøl is rarely seen without her off-white and dark brown snowflake jumper. The knitted garment became so iconic that another snowflake jumper was especially made in a dark red colour for the second series. There are also rumours to expect a third design when the show airs in Denmark in 2012.

The Faroese designs are made by Gudrun & Gudrun, a small two-woman company located in the sparsely populated Faroe Islands. They base their chunky hand-knitted garments on traditional fishermen’s jumpers. However, they have successfully adapted their designs to make them more feminine and appealing to the modern market. Their success sparked a demand in the fashion world for the unusually practical and modest range of clothing. Nevertheless, the price tag of the iconic snowflake jumper reflects their popularity, as at €280 they appear extortionate, yet remain the company’s best selling item.

For those on a student budget, but who desire to follow the trend, a number of alternative (and cheaper) jumpers are available on the high street. The subzero winters in St Andrews mean that a woollen Fairisle or snowflake jumper is the perfect investment to not only avoid putting the heating on, but also to be style savvy in such a fashion conscious town. The Nordic style jumpers are a universal look that suits both sexes alike. The chunky-knit garments are teamed perfectly with jeans and boots, creating a comfortable and effortlessly chic and casual look for both days huddled in the library and evenings spent in the pub. The garments make the perfect present for frozen students. Generous parents looking for a practical, but coveted gift, take note! Students- speak nicely to Santa and his elves and if you have been good this year then who knows?

As Christmas approaches and the temperature drops, the snowflake jumpers are appearing out in force. The forecast of snow is allowing the retail industry to capitalize on shoppers’ festive feelings and the popularity of knitwear by introducing Christmas themed novelty knits. These jumpers once appeared tacky and cliché like a 1980s Christmas song (think Wham! and Mr Darcy in Bridget Jones), but have now been reinterpreted as retro and festive due to their adornment with holiday motifs, such as penguins, reindeer, snowmen and, of course, Mr Claus himself!

What better way to count down the days til Christmas break than by shamelessly wearing your favourite sparkly penguin jumper and drinking mulled wine? Let’s face it, essay deadlines come all year round, but we only get to decorate the tree and eat our body weight in mince pies once a year, so we might as well do it in style!

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