Owls, foxes, hedgehogs, even badgers… I’ve loved these cute woodland critters ever since I was little and had an Animals of Farthing Wood dairy and matching pencil case. I only recently woke up to this trend when my friend told me ‘Owls are so in right now.’ (She doesn’t usually talk like a character from Mean Girls, she was just very excited about owls.) There’s something reassuring about a trend that fits this easily, that makes you feel both stylish and also reconnects you with your inner geeky child.
This is a trend that has been a long time in the making. Jack Wills and Aubin & Wills made tiny pheasants and foxes in top hats their logos years ago, and the retro reindeer/snowflake/Fair Isle patterned seasonal jumper has been growing in popularity ever since… well, was it Seth Cohen who brought it back from its eighties exile in 2003-2004? Woodsy, outdoorsy musicians like Sufjan Stevens and First Aid Kit have certainly played their part in the trend’s growing popularity. This type of cosy knitwear is the real precursor to the woodland animals motif, a natural progression from plaid, tweed, and Hunter wellies.
There’s irony in the fact that so many of these woodland creatures adorning our jumpers and patterning our dresses are endangered. But, as Naomi Attwood writes, there’s a certain element of ‘heritage or homegrown brands such as Burberry, Mulberry and Aubin and Wills, who pride themselves strongly on their British roots, glamorising and fetishising what might at one stage have been seen as fusty, out-dated, country style, rather than the stuff of the luxury catwalks’. It’s this very ‘home-grown’ and British quality to the trend that makes it – however inadvertently – the perfect vehicle for raising awareness about the protection of our native endangered wild animals.
I always find the period following Christmas the most depressing time of the year; Christmas decorations start to come down, but the nights seem just as long, dark, and cold as ever. Wrapping up in a sweater with a big red squirrel on the front might just be the kind of cheering up I need.
Love the woodland trend? Read Helen’s Style & Then Some post about the fox tail trend. (Yes, it is literally a trend for wearing furry foxtails. On your B-hind. Yes, that’s right, it started in Japan.)