In Praise of: Fair Isle Knitwear

Wednesday, 17 October 2018
In Praise of: Fair Isle Knitwear


The traditional technique of Fair Isle knitting is named after the tiny island it originates from, part of the Shetland Islands in Scotland. Its exact history is unknown; but there are strong similarities in design with the bold patterns found on traditional Icelandic and Scandinavian knitwear, which were historically strong trading partners to these islands. Fair Isle has always been characterised by bold colour and vibrant patterns, with no more than two colours working in any row.

Worn for centuries by crofters and farmers in the Shetland Islands, the style received a huge boost in popularity in the 1920’s when the Prince of Wales (who incidentally had Cordings as one of his official outfitters), was sent a Fair Isle knitted vest top as a gift from the islanders in the 1920s and was photographed wearing it whilst golfing. Since then it has been a staple element in British fashion, from catwalks to street wear.

For 2018, Cordings have teamed with two traditional Scottish knitting mills to create our latest collection of Fair Isle designs.


Our sumptuously soft Geelong jumper, with a classic fair isle cowl design, is available in two exclusive colours: the striking mustard yellow fairisle jumper and orange geelong jumper. Teamed perfectly with our herringbone tweed culottes, or velvet jeans.

Composite Shot of 2 women wearing yellow jumper with brown geometric design and orange jumper with green geometric design.
The Traditional Fairisle Jumper, partner with brown velvet jeans or herringbone culottes.


This year we’ve introduced a new design to the Fairisle collection, with dazzling blue and pink detailing on a beautifully soft beige Geelong background. This Retro Fairisle Jumper is a contemporary design offering a unique twist on a classic pattern.

Ladies fairisle jumper beige


With its matching beanie and wrist warmers, our Fairisle wool shawl has been a popular part of our Autumn collection for a number of years, and is incidentally our best-selling ladies Christmas gift.

Composite shot of 3 women wearing traditional fairisle patterned gloves, hats and shawls sat on chair.
Our collection of fairisle shawls, wristwarmers and beanie hats. Perfect for adding warmth in style.