One of the world’s leading museums has acquired the patchwork cardigan famously worn by pop star Harry Styles for its permanent collection.
The multi-colored garment will join some of human history’s most significant items of clothing at the V&A in London, after it sparked a viral crocheting trend on TikTok.
Taken from British label JW Anderson’s Spring/Summer 2020 menswear collection, the cardigan first caught fans’ attention after the former One Direction singer was spotted wearing it ahead of a TV appearance earlier this year.
With Covid-19 lockdowns confining people to their homes around the world, the star’s fans – known as “Stylers” – and other TikTok users then began producing their own replicas of the checkerboard design.
JW Anderson’s founder and creative director, Jonathan Anderson, was so taken by the challenge, that he made details about the color-block pattern public. As well as offering detailed instructions online, his brand also published an accompanying tutorial video, complete with guidance on different stitches and advice on choosing yarns.
TokTok users shared their creations under the hashtag #harrystylescardigan, which has over 41 million views on the platform to date. Digital versions of the garment were even seen in Nintendo’s hugely popular “Animal Crossing” video game.
In a blog post announcing the acquisition, the V&A described Styles as “one of the most influential style icons of his generation,” while commending his “gender neutral, playful and experimental approach to fashion.” The museum also referenced the viral craze inspired by the garment, calling it a “cultural phenomenon that speaks to the power of creativity and social media in bringing people together in times of extreme adversity.”
Anderson, who also heads up Spanish fashion house Loewe, said in a statement that he was “so impressed and incredibly humbled by the whole thing.”
“It’s been incredible to see everyone knitting the cardigan on their own and with the pattern we released and to see so many people making it their own,” the Northern Irish designer is quoted as saying on the museum’s blog. “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.”
The cardigan will join the V&A’s vast fashion collection, which spans five centuries and is described as the world’s “largest and most comprehensive collection of dress.” The museum offered no information about when, or if, the item will be exhibited, saying that more details would be revealed next year.
Top image caption: Harry Styles wore the cardigan to a rehearsal for NBC’s Today Show in February 2020.