Sometimes we buy clothes based on the latest fashions, and other times we buy them for more practical reasons, such as to protect our bodies or to keep them warm. The stitching in a sweater or the way it's cut might make it a trendy part of your wardrobe. Or maybe it's just an old favorite that's cozy and comfortable.
The history of the sweater dates back to the 11th century. The Normans learned Islamic handicraft techniques from the Mediterranean Island of Salina and brought them back to Jersey, the largest of the English Channel Islands. Fishermen on the island used the techniques to knit tops to keep them warm. The tops were named after the island, and are stilled called jerseys to this day, although in some parts of the English speaking world, the term "sweater" is used interchangeably.
The term "jersey knit" also originates from Jersey Island. In 1600, the island's governor presented Queen Elizabeth with a gift of machine-sewn stockings, which she became fond of due to their warmth, elasticity and comfort. Jersey-knit fabric is still used to make all kinds of clothing, including the sports jerseys worn in Japan and around the world.
Throughout history there has been a constant demand for more functional clothing, and advances continue to be made. Mankind has developed technologies to mimic properties of natural materials, such as the so-called "dead air" in down, which acts as an insulator. Some artificial materials can even maintain temperatures at a molecular level. Japan is a leader in developing these kinds of technologies, and its manufacturing techniques are certain to help shape the world's future fashion trends.