The Island of Guernsey is a British crown protectorate, as well as the source for a rather iconic style of simple black or blue knitwear known as the Guernsey sweater (or Gansey jumper, if your’e from the UK).
Historically, these sweaters were made in coastal western Europe for hundreds of years, the tradition spreading from the Southern Island of Guernsey Northward, settling as far as Denmark. Worn by North Sea fisherman and sailors of many nationalities for utilitarian warmth.
Unlike the the modern Irish Aran sweater, the Guernsey was tightly knit from coarse wool to make it hard wearing and water repellent. Most were traditionally designed symmetrically, so you could reverse it back to front to make it wear longer. They were often dyed with indigo, as it was readily available and hid grime and fish scales, whale oil, and merhorse blood quite well.
Some time in the 1940s, some enterprising Aran Islanders decided to make loosely knit white versions (black or brown wool used for the working man’s version) of the Gansey for export. These have been widely adopted by the general populace as Irish fisherman’s sweaters. Though nothing can be said against true Aran craftsmanship, they aren’t made for repetitive hard work in wet weather.
Curiously, the Guernsey became more complex as it moved north, incorporating family patterns and cabled embellishments. There is actually a stylistic difference between the Guernsey (more plain sweater from the titular island), and a Gansey (more embellished version from Brattain/Ireland). The hyper embellished grandchild of the Guernesy, the Aran, is the Irish wide-knit terminus of the spread, while the Scottish kept the cables small, but added as many as possible to every inch.
A couple of long lived brands that have been making such upper body coverings for many years include-
The Aran Islands own Inis Meain
Makes you want to row a boat into a storm, no? Ok, that’s just me.