For the longest time, wool has been considered a fabric for 50-year olds. To be any younger and crave anything woollen meant that you were born in the 80s or earlier, or that you were raised on an Amish farm. Recently, wool has been cast back into the limelight mainly because of one technique finding favour with the top brands, both in the realms of fashion and functional wear: knit. Again, not to be confused with knitted jumpers that your grandma painstakingly presented to you every Christmas, or the stuff that was the hallmark look of That 70s Show. This is the new-age stuff, which uses everything from wool to other fabrics – even the un-fabrics. In short, thanks to the fluid form of knitwear, wool too is back in demand. Sure, it will take a gentleman of a certain calibre to keep his wardrobe organised by the thread count, but for the moment, I am just glad to see this revival. Here, then, are a handful of instances where the hip knitwear is to be found. As you may find, the range is indeed vast, from the top luxury houses to the most performance-oriented of sports brands.
- Gucci: The current collection for men by this luxe brand has knits aplenty — from the much-spotted concept of animism, featuring animal and plant motifs, to Disney characters appearing on the front.
- Knit sweaters for men would largely be commissioned for Christmas, where the ugliest and most garish incarnations were the ones most cherished. But then, it was more parody than style. Well, shy away no more. From cardigans in cashmere to pashmina pullovers, it is young and hip to dress older. For people in my age group, we are merely happy that our existing wardrobe helps us fit into a younger demographic without having to change anything about it. From Ralph Lauren to Versace, and even quirky Comme des Garçons, everyone is dabbling in all things knit.
- ASICS: The healthy mind in a healthy body brand (Anima Sana In Corpore Sano = ASICS) has been the go-to brand for many an avid marathoner. Recently, they revisited their classic running shoe, the Kayano Trainer, by changing the uppers from fused materials to a sock-like knit. The result: the same running comfort in a lighter frame. I have been using the shoe personally and can vouch for it.
- While on sports, adidas also has done its bit for knit. The brand’s Z.N.E. Pulse hoodie is knitwear made using Merino wool – a natural, breathable fabric that helps in controlling body temperature. This is like a super 120s suit, but for running. The new shoes in collaboration with Parley for Oceans also use knitted yarns for the uppers, which are made from up-cycled plastic waste.
- Nike was among the first to introduce knit uppers (remember Flyknit), and most of their current launches – from running shoes like Free, Zoom and LunarEpic to the more urban Air Vapormax – all have knit uppers as an option.
- Under Armor is another brand getting in on the knitwear action with their latest running footwear, the Bandit 3 collection. The idea is similar – to provide comfort, grip and breathability while cutting weight.
One word of caution about all knits, though: they fray. They can also be cumbersome to clean. Which is perhaps why the world moved away from them in first place. But, life is cyclical, so their comeback is verymuch in line with the natural progression of all thoughts and things.