It may seem like an unusual choice to some, but a patchwork cardigan worn by recording artist Harry Styles is being added to the Victoria & Albert Museum's fashion collection.
The JW Anderson knit sparked a social media trending sensation after Styles wore it to rehearsals on the US broadcaster NBC’s Today show earlier this year. During lockdown, fans of the star created their own versions of the colour block garment and shared them on the TikTok platform using the hashtag #harrystylescardigan. The hashtag has received 40.1 million views to date, inspiring JW Anderson’s founder and creative director, Jonathan Anderson, to release the pattern and tutorial of how to make the cardigan.
According to the V&A, Harry Styles’ gender-neutral, playful and experimental approach to fashion has played a huge role in developing his distinctive personality as an artist. It says that his often flamboyant style choices constantly push boundaries, making him one of the most influential style icons of his generation. They are showcasing the cardigan as the response to Styles wearing the cardigan sparked a cultural phenomenon that speaks to the power of creativity and social media in bringing people together in times of extreme adversity.
"It’s fantastic to be able to add this design to our collection of fashion and dress representing his approach to design, and documenting this moment in time," says the London museum. "The cardigan also reflects Jonathan Anderson’s experimental approach to knitwear within his collections and his championing of the medium of craft. By making the pattern for the cardigan available on his website, he encouraged many more people to try their hand at creating a garment for themselves."
Jonathan Anderson says that it's incredible to see so many people knitting the cardigan and making it their own. "I am so impressed and incredibly humbled by the whole thing," he says. "Donating the cardigan to the V&A feels like the right next step to acknowledge everyone’s incredible creativity and craft especially during such a challenging time in history."