Woman sat on an armchair outdoors wearing a knit cardigan and holding a glass of champagne

A British Country Classic: Fair Isle Knits

Fashion /


The jumper that never goes out of style

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In 1862, The Shetland Advertiser offered a ‘varied assortment of curiously knitted goods from the Fair Isle’. Some 159 years later and while only a few knitters remain on the island, the legacy of the Fair Isle knitters, and the styles they popularised, are going strong. Here’s the C&TH guide for everything you need to know about the humble Fair Isle knit. 

Fair Isle Knits: A Guide for Autumn/Winter 2022

It’s official: Fair Isle Knits are back on the sartorial map. Kate Middleton recently donned a Holland and Cooper Fair Isle Knit for a rare BBC TV appearance reading the children’s book, The Owl Who is Afraid of the Dark for Children’s Mental Health Week – and we’re all here for the resurgence.

Kate Middleton wears a Holland and Cooper Fair Isle Jumper

Image courtesy: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge @KensingtonRoyal Twitter

Buy Local

While just a handful of Fair Isle crofters remain, supporting their work is not only important but a great way of investing in a piece you’ll treasure forever. Mati Ventrillon is a Fair Isle crofter and knits to order, or you can order one of her Mak-Kist knit kits to try and make your own. Marie Bruhat is a French Knitwear and Textile Designer living on the island using traditional Fair Isle knitted techniques. Elizabeth Riddiford also knits to order via an online order book. Learn more about local crafters at fairislebirdobs.co.uk.

Outside of the island itself, investing in a hand knit is a great opportunity to support a local business and local craftmanship. Check your local area for crafters or check out national family-run businesses like &Daughter.

Fair Isle Knits: Browse The Edit

Choose a Fair Isle knit from the above crafters you’ll keep forever or choose a cosy copycat from our edit for the season, below.

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celtic & co

Celtic & Co

Fair Isle funnel neck jumper, £125,  celticandco.com

Woman sat on an armchair outdoors wearing a knit cardigan and holding a glass of champagne

Beaufort & Blake

Bewl Cardigan, £120, beaufortandblake.com

Fair isle knit jumper

Farlows

Ladies Supersoft Fairisle Jumper in Tusk, £129.99, farlows.co.uk

Grey Fair Isle Jumper

Holland & Cooper

Fairisle Knit in Grey, £179, hollandandcooper.com

Navy and red cardigan

House of Bruar

Ladies Shetland Cardigan, £79.95, houseofbruar.com

Black, red and yellow knit vest

Molly Goddard

Lennon Vest Grey Fair Isle, £420, mollygoddard.com

Green and yellow fair isle knit cardigan

Brora

Wool Fair Isle Cardigan, £159, broraonline.com

Model stood outdoors at sunset wearing a vest and frill collared shirt

Toast

Fair Isle Tank, £125, toa.st

Pictured: Beaufort & Blake