A “magic jumper” with active healing properties was only a matter of time, now that fashion is falling in love with spirituality. Forget Jennifer Anniston and her Hamsa anti-evil eye necklace and Sienna Miller and her Daisy London chakra bracelets. The new serious face of alternative fashion is the former head knitwear designer at Dior, Adam Jones, who has come up with the audacious idea of a fine gauge cashmere knit which imbues its wearers with active “healing energy.”
Launched this month, Devendra Banhart’s artist girlfriend, Ana Kras, and model Lily Cole are already big fans of the Yarnlight Collective jumper. Lily Cole doesn’t like to take hers off, wearing it at her recent talk about her venture impossible.com with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales at Cambridge University and on her recent trip to Africa (see pic). “Maybe its placebo effect,” she says, “but it definitely makes me feel special.”
No nutty fad, Jones is working closely with one of the world’s top yarn houses, Lineapiu, known for its work with Azzedine Alaia back in the 1980s. He admits that the people at Lineapiu were “a bit stunned,” when he announced his new project. “I told them I was looking for something soft and beautiful which had a component in it to receive and store subtle energy. They thought about it for a bit and said they thought the idea was brilliant.”
They opted for carbon as the component (“because that’s what the universe is made of”) and the YLC jumper is spun from cashmere, bamboo, 24 carat gold (“because gold has amazing healing properties and is a great conductor”) and 4% carbon. A group of healers gathered in Paris sending good intentions into the cones of carbon in way they normally do with people. The process has been patented.
Sceptics might say it sounds a bit like “lucky knickers” syndrome. But actually, the magic sweater is a brilliant concept because you can keep it simple if you wish: a sexy, flattering cashmere jumper for 350 Euros. But with a leap of faith, you’ve also got the Twilight Zone on your chest. Take the Wearer’s Guide it comes with. 1) Put on your sweater. 2) Rub your hands together in a circular motion until you feel a sensation of warmth. 3) Visualise a ball of golden light suspended between your palms. 4) Take this ball of energy and place it on your chest. 5) Set an intention. For instance, “I choose to feel calm and balanced.”
Jones’ own spiritual journey is interesting. Known in Paris as the knitwear pioneer at Dior in the Galliano years and latterly for his own line where international fans included Audrey Tautou, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kylie Minogue, he has, until now, preferred to remain out of the limelight. But a few years ago, he became troubled. Fashion’s current speed and vampiric demand for new ideas and collections to be produced ever faster, he describes as being like “an infernal machine.”
“The crazy, out-of-control system was always going to cause damage, and I think part of that damage was Alexander McQueen.”
Two years ago, after 10 years of psychoanalysis left him feeling blocked, the Mexican mother of one of his assistants offered to give him a form of energy healing. He found it revelatory and it opened up ideas about spirituality and the vast bodies of energy out there, ready to help us if we only tap into them. “It struck me that there must be some way of joining fashion and spirituality through quantum physics – which believes that everyone is connected to everyone else. That seems to be how healing works.”
Future plans include magic baby grows, magic pashminas for plane flights and a couture version of the jumper with a higher component of gold woven in. And Jones is excited about the future. He’s already been approached by several head hunters working for big French fashion houses, but he’s keeping it small to start with.
“This is a very new idea,” he cautions. But he is optimistic. “To make a garment more beautiful, not by something you put on the outside, but by putting something in the soul of the fabric itself could be an important new direction for fashion.”
Stephanie Theobald is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Harpers Bazaar, The Sunday Times Style magazine, The Guardian and the London Evening Standard. [email protected]