There are some who would suggest that my ventures to NY are motivated not by work, but by my affinity for Irish Pubs. Could be true, but on one of my fashion forays I found myself not just entertained by good Irishmen extolling the virtues of their architecture, literature, music, rugby and of course, spirits, but fashion? It was suggested I should take a look at a rather demure brand of sweater…and, the grand irony, this brand of knit, offered by an Italian. Anyway, I met my friend Michal Sestak, a man of impeccable Italian style, one of the more charming gentlemen in our industry. I reviewed the line, was immediately smitten by the quality, but moreover the provincial charm. Fifteen years later, I invite you to experience Inis Meain what surely becomes a personal heirloom.
Inis Meáin Knitting Company was founded on the island in 1976 by Tarlach de Blácam and Áine Ní Chonghaile, inspired by the unique spirit, environment and heritage of the place.
Tarlach was a graduate in Celtic Languages from Trinity College Dublin and had gone to Inis Meáin in the late sixties like the previous scholars to immerse himself in the language and culture of the island; Áine was a native of Inis Meáin working as a teacher in Dublin in the early ‘70s. When the pair married in 1973, they were determined to make their home on the island. The only question was how to make a living there.
Tarlach and Áine became involved in a series of development projects aimed at stemming the tide of emigration and providing the permanent work needed to support a sustainable community on Inis Meáin. These included the provision of electricity and running water as well as new harbour and airstrip facilities.
Drawing on the island tradition, Tarlach and Áine went on to equip a small factory with six knitting machines and set about working with young islanders whose mothers knitted at home for the tourist industry. The younger generation were more inclined to emigrate in search of work on the mainland or overseas. Inis Meáin Knitting Company offered regular work in a factory setting, attracting young people who would otherwise have left the island forever.
Today, Inis Meáin Knitting Company continues to delve into the rich knitting heritage of the island for inspiration, reinterpreting traditional stitches and styles in the finest yarns to create beautiful and sophisticated garments for contemporary living.
They are proud to supply unique, high-quality knitwear to some of the best stores around the world.
Inis Meáin Knitting Company designs and produces individual, unique pieces of knitwear in the finest yarns, all exquisitely finished by hand. Their range is continually updated with new styles as well as variations on customers’ old favorites.
They are a very modern company, with a highly-educated, well-trained workforce using the most up-to-date machinery. But how they use their machinery differs from most other companies with the same technology – because they choose not to mass produce. Instead, they specialize in small runs of new styles and change the settings on their machinery up to several times each day, so that they can produce up to 50 different styles each season.
The authentic heritage, sophisticated design, beautiful yarns and impeccable finishing of Inis Meáin knitwear are appreciated by customers around the world. Their range of styles continues to evolve as they explore the vast Aran knitting repertoire.