Le Cardigan façon RÉUNI — Partie 1/2

This time we're going after a monument:
The Cardigan. 


This little buttoned woolen jacket, chic and simple at the same time, has become an essential part of our wardrobe.


It is a practical and easy to match garment, perfect in mid-season on a light dress and indispensable in winter to stay warm.


Sublimated by Chanel in the 20s, brought up to date by Agnès b. in 79, the cardigan has become a cult, iconic and timeless piece, just like the trench coat or denim jacket.

Summary

This time we're going after a monument:
The Cardigan. 


This little buttoned woolen jacket, chic and simple at the same time, has become an essential part of our wardrobe.


It is a practical and easy to match garment, perfect in mid-season on a light dress and indispensable in winter to stay warm.


Sublimated by Chanel in the 20s, brought up to date by Agnès b. in 79, the cardigan has become a cult, iconic and timeless piece, just like the trench coat or denim jacket.

To shine around the coffee machine : dixit Wiki, the cardigan would have been invented during the first half of the 19th century by James Thomas Brudenell, Earl of Cardigan (Wales). A soldier, feeling cramped in his regulation sweater, he himself is said to have slit his garment from the collar to the waist with a sword. He's not kidding, James!

So when you tackle a room like this, charged with so much history and prestige, you take gloves. 


The thing is, in recent years, the cardigan has been the victim of all eccentricities. It's been chewed up in all kinds of ways, constantly revisited to suit the fashion of the moment. 


But you know our credo: we don't care about trends. Instead, we try to make each piece a timeless classic that won't become a has-been in the next season.


Teamwork

And for that, as usual, we started by sending you a questionnaire. We wanted to find out what was wrong with your cardigans. This time we got 464 answers. 


And here's the info you've been feeding us:


1 - The cut is catastrophic (46%). You are many to find that cardigans have a boring, "granny" or attic survivor side. They are too long, too short, too tight, too loose, have that "ball effect" that ruins your look in 2 seconds. And even if everything goes well, it's the collar that's next to the plate.


2 - The quality of the mesh often leaves something to be desired (31%). It pilling, scratching or deforming easily, until it becomes the perfect piece of fabric to hang out on Sundays at home.


3 - The buttons are not up to standard (16%). They aren't very pretty, they break, they get loose, or the button placket is wobbly.


And then, you find them too thin, too thick... In short, our mission (which we accepted): to give back to the cardigan its letters of nobility and give it back its youthfulness, but also making sure to keep its simplicity, its elegance and its natural knitted side. 


 We also tried to make a generous piece, with a lot of material, of high quality, in which you will feel good in any occasion and in any season.


For that, we needed something heavy. So we found the fine team of the Big Winter Sweater, our very first piece: Master Wanju Jo for the design and the Rodríguez family for the "fábrica".


But before taking action, we also had to find the basic ingredient for an exceptional cardigan: the cream of the wool.



The cream of the wool

This little gem was found at Biella Yarn, one of Europe's most renowned wool spinners. It is a 100% pure merino wool yarn, just like the Gros Pull d'Hiver, but with an even better quality-price ratio.  


The sheep are raised in GOTS-certified farms (organic pasture, high environmental standards). You might as well know that when it comes to quality and animal welfare, we can hardly do better.

For your information, our wool is also guaranteed no mulesing. No mulesing means that our sheep have not been subjected to the barbaric practice of cutting off parts of their buttocks with shears to prevent parasites from laying their eggs.

The wool is then spun, dyed and treated against felting by their Bulgarian factory. Thanks to this special treatment, the wool plocks less and does not shrink in the machine. To be sure, we have checked this for ourselves. After 10 sessions of washing and drying at 30°C in the wool program, RAS, nothing moves. Magic.

Our yarn is also labelled OEKO-TEX®️ Standard 100, which certifies the absence of any harmful substance or substance that could present a health risk.

The other particularity of our wool is its great fineness (19.5 microns compared to 40 for a classic wool). And you may know it, but the finer the fibre, the softer and more comfortable it is. Basically, you can wear the cardigan RÉUNI right next to your skin, it doesn't itch.


Good wool is good. But that's just the beginning.


La fábrica

For the manufacturing, we went back to our friends at Finatex61 in Toledo, south of Madrid. That's where it all started. Where the Big Winter Sweater was born. We tracked down Alicia, her parents and the entire team. Just for the record, their specialty is knitting and tailoring. The family business has been running since 1986 and benefits from a know-how widely recognized in the industry.

We were just there last week to finalize the prototype Cardigan. It was hot (42°C), the wheat was yellow and Covid obliged, Toledo, usually populated by foreign tourists, looked like a ghost town. For the tapas, the old stones and the cerveza, we'll come back. Instead, we spent some time with the teams and brought back some nice pictures.


Tough as nails

But back to the matter at hand. First of all, we didn't skimp on the material: 780g of pure merino wool. We told you, we want generous pieces, armors, cocoons, that will keep you warm. However, the cardigan is not too thick, you can easily wear it under a coat. What's the secret? Its knitting stitch.

We used the Milano stitch. It's the strongest stitch there is. It's a very tightly knitted stitch - gauge 7 for technical details - that you don't see much of in the home anymore because it's expensive to make and uses a lot of material. Thanks to this compact stitch, the Cardigan is very strong: it cuts the wind, withstands the weather, snags and the machine.


What's next?

But it doesn't stop there. For our cardigan, we used a total of four different knitting stitches. We will present them to you in detail next week, along with the rest of the design (cut, collar, buttons, colors and all the little details that make the difference). 


By then, the photo shoot will be finished (it takes place today). It'll be nicer to see all the details in pictures instead of having them described to you, right? 


Anyway, we hope you enjoyed this little backstage tour. If you did, don't hesitate to let us know by commenting on our site or on our social networks. You can also ask us your questions, we will answer them with great pleasure!


Take good care of yourself. 


Alice, Adrien & Julien 

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