Have we always been obsessed with knitwear? I’m not sure we have. Looking back at the biggest fashions over the past few decades, there isn’t really much about the humble jumper or even cardi, save that moment in the ’90s with the grunge cardi. But—and I’m going to put my stake in the ground here—we’re living in the days of great knitwear. A golden era, if you will. This vital part of our wardrobes, especially for those of us living in the northern hemisphere, has been turned from just a cosy item that keeps us warm to a real fashion statement.
And how do we know this exactly? By working on the front line of trends and fashion, of course. Over the past few years at Who What Wear, we’ve seen an incredibly high interest in particular items of knitwear—be it cool cult buys from Ganni and Isabel Marant or high-street favourites from Arket and & Other Stories. When I reached out to Lyst, the global shopping platform, I was informed that “searches for all things knitwear were up 51% month-on-month.” Over at Net-a-Porter, they start seeing a growing interest in knitwear pieces from August amongst their European customers.
Armed with this intel, we decided to create Who What Wear’s first-ever knitwear report. Not only will we tell you which pieces people are desperate to get their hands on, but we’ll also fill you in on what’s trending right now. Keep scrolling for everything you need to know when it comes to knitwear in 2021.
Honestly, trends in knitwear seem to have gone wild this year. There are so many of them it’s almost impossible to nail down all of them. But we’ve done it. On the runways, there has been an explosion of colour. Rainbow stripes from Christopher John Rogers and Chloé, graphic prints from Ganni and Ashish and saturated hues from Gucci and Aknvas. On Instagram, always a great way to discover new trends, we’ve spotted cut-out jumpers and cropped cardis, such as those from Jacquemus, indicating a love of a sassier take on knitwear.
Lyst revealed that the biggest searches around knitwear include patterned sweaters (up by 43%) and polo knitwear (up by 24%), and demand for “matching knitwear sets” has also increased. Net-a-Porter reiterated that there’s a love of brightly coloured pieces right now, as the luxury retailer has seen a demand for knitwear from The Elder Statesman. According to NAP, “the brand’s tie-dye pieces, such as the Day Break Tie-Dyed Cashmere Sweater and the Olympus Tie-Dyed Cashmere Cardigan, have been particularly popular.”
At the opposite end of the pullover spectrum is the striped knit. It’s hard to deny that this more minimalist piece has also been incredibly popular this season. Totême’s striped merino wool turtleneck sweater has been a key buy as well as Arket’s sell-out Breton-style jumper. Cable knits are also sneaking in there and making a comeback this season.
Has there ever been a better time to find great knitwear buys on the high street? I’m going to say no because quite honestly, there are so many affordable brands doing great stuff with this item. Since August, we’ve spotted some key pieces that Who What Wear readers continue to buy—we even have a top-five of items that they love. According to Joy Montgomery, Who What Wear’s shopping editor, the winners are Arket’s now completely sold-out striped cotton jumper, H&M’s rib-knit cardigan, & Other Stories mock-neck sweater, H&M’s collar-detail jumper and a wrap cardigan from & Other Stories. It’s worth noting that all these pieces are very versatile and will work with so much in your wardrobe, proving that you don’t have to spend a lot to find a long-lasting item.
From Ganni’s oversized knit to Khaite’s knitted bra-and-cardi combo, there’s been a real taste for cult knitwear buys. This season, there are various pieces that are 100% what everyone wants to wear, which we’ve either spotted on street stylers or all over Instagram. Whether it’s Jacquemus’s über-cropped cardi, Totême’s striped jumper, Stine Goya’s checked knit or Shrimps’s embellished cardigans, there are plenty of fashion insiders after those standout knitwear pieces.
Next up, the biggest autumn/winter 2021 fashion trends to know.
Opening Images: Courtesy of Aknvas; Christopher John Rogers; Ashish; Gucci