From humble beginnings, the traditional Guernsey jumper has gone from fisherman's friend to a fashionista's favourite.
Traditional Guernsey jumpers were originally knitted for local fishermen to protect them from the elements, knitted with close stitches from tightly twisted wool to withstand sea spray and rain.
Knitted by the fishermen's wives, the pattern was passed down from mother to daughter through the generations and, while the jumpers are now machine-knitted, the final stitching together is still completed by hand today.
The navy sweater dates back to the 16th century. Trade links established in the 17th century saw the Guernsey being adopted by coastal communities around the British Isles - as well as in the military.
They were first widely used in the rating uniform of the 19th Century British Royal Navy and it is said that they were worn at the Battle of Trafalgar.
The allegiance continues today - in 2006, the British 7th Armoured Division ordered 300 jumpers from a local company and these were sent out to Iraq. Each jumper was hand-finished in a neutral colour and had the Desert Rat insignia sewn onto the left hand sleeve.
Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots both owned Guernsey knitwear. Mary Queen of Scots even wore Guernsey stockings at her execution. By the 19th century, Nelson had recommended it to the Admiralty as a valuable article of naval clothing.
The Guernsey that is still produced on the island retains much of the original design and patterning. The rib at the top of the sleeve represents a sailing ship's rope ladder in the rigging, the raised seam across the shoulder a rope, and the garter stitch panel waves breaking upon the beach.
It was possible to identify which parish or family the wearer came from - which was useful for a number of reasons including, sadly, helping identify the bodies of sailors lost overboard.
Today, they are more likely to be found gracing the fashion pages of Vogue or being the must-have item for hardy adventurers.
Robust in design, it is not uncommon for a Guernsey to last several decades and be passed down in families. In fact, it takes a couple of decades to wear a traditional Guernsey in.
Swallows and Amazons
Guernsey jumpers have made it to the big screen! The major new film Swallows and Amazons is released today. The movie - staring Kelly Macdonald, Rafe Spall and Harry Enfield - is based on the classic novel by Arthur Ransome. You can see the four Walker children below in their Guernsey made Guernsey's!
The films chronicles the story of the Walker children on their adventures in the Lake District with the goal of claiming a remote island for themselves. Heading over to the island on their boat "Swallow", they soon discover they’re not alone. A gang of rebellious children, the Blacketts also known as the "Amazons", have set up camp there, and a battle for the island begins. But with Britain on the brink of war and a "secret agent" looking for the Blackett children's uncle, real battles aren’t far away, and their childhood paradise is turned upside-down.