A TRIM woman who picked up knitting needles for the first time when she lost her job during the pandemic has gone on to make vintage inspired knitwear for people all over the world.
Like so many Aly Goggins (23) was laid off from her job that was in the tourism department of Dublin Bus when covid hit. With new-found time on her hands and struggling to find clothing for her unique style, she decided to try and make her own. Now two years later, the self taught crafter is designing and creating items full time from her old bedroom for fellow subculture lovers across the globe.
“I had become interested in the Skinhead and Mod scene maybe five years ago when I was about 18,” she said. I was very much interested in the fashion and the haircut and the music and so I was always kind of looking for clothes vintage clothes online because the kind of clothes you would be wearing from that era would be from the 60s and 70s.”
“At the time I was working full time with Dublin Bus in the tourism department and when the pandemic hit, I lost my job because there were no tourists coming into the country. So, like everyone else, I was just at home every day and I had nothing to do. I was doing a lot of online shopping and I could never really find knitwear in my size because I wear quite a small size. I was in a shop one day and I saw wool and I thought I have all the time in the world, I might teach myself how to do it and make one for myself.”
Aly’s retro knitted tank tops went down a storm on social media spurring her on to turn a passion into a way to make a living as she explains:
“A lot of my friends would be into the 60s and 70s fashion as well and word got around, and people started asking me to make some for them. I did a bit more research into knitting techniques, I found out about knitting machines and I went off and bought myself one of them.
“I watched lots of Youtube videos and kind of taught myself how to use it and eventually said I set up an Instagram and Facebook page for a little business. People would post pictures of themselves wearing them and word of mouth got around and now I send them all over the world. It has been the best thing to come out of the pandemic for me.”
“I never saw myself as someone who would be able to create these kinds of clothes, it all happened by accident but I’m so glad it did.
“A lot of customers would be in the UK with the skinhead and mod movement huge here and I’ve sent them to loads of countries in mainland Europe as well as to Mexico, America and Canada.”
The 1960s saw England welcome an influx of Jamaican immigrants, many of whom took up residence in poorer, inner-city areas. And as the native working-class rejected the bourgeois hippie ideals of the time, they embraced the style sported by many of their new neighbours, known as Rudeboy. This combined with the already popular Mod dress, formed the basis of Skinhead fashion.
Aly became acquainted with the Dublin skinhead scene as a teenager finally finding her tribe she says.
“It really started with the music. The skinhead music would be reggae and two-tone music and I went to a couple of gigs with friends and met other skinheads from Dublin and I just loved the look, I loved the fashion, I loved the hair cut and I just decided that’s who I want to be. I did as much research as I could and started collecting clothes and started listening to a lot of different kinds of music and I fully immerse myself in it now, I love it.”
People often do a double take when they see the vintage lover in all of her finery but not all reaction is positive. The movement that emerged from England’s working-class estates as a symbol of racial harmony was in its second wave in the 80s ironically hijacked and reinvented by some as a white supremacist ideology.
“People dressed so well back then, it’s good being different and not blending in with the crowd you’ll stand out sometimes and people appreciate your style.
“Sometimes we get some nasty comments because they think the word skinhead is related to racism when in fact it’s totally the opposite, it’s based on black culture. When you sit them down and explain its roots, people are taken aback.”
The young Trim creative is hoping she can also contribute to the idea of sustainable fashion.
“The garments that I make are of really high quality, I use the best wool that I can find so it’s not cheap and it will last and never go out of fashion. Clothes were once made to last a lifetime, we’ve lost that through time. I like to think that these pieces will still be in people’s wardrobes in decades to come.”
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