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On Freedom Fighters, Peace Keepers and Crochet Berets.

The Beret.

Yes, I know it’s a bit of a fashion cliché – but sometimes I rather like clichés. They have a certain old fashioned charm to them that can make a refreshing change to the politicised spin that’s constantly streamed into our lives.

My love of the beret stretches beyond the French stereotype and the image of the romantic artist.

I am fascinated with the beret’s seductive versatility as it’s become the headgear of choice for hundreds of international paramilitary groups. That such a small and innocuous accessory can take on so many different meanings and associations  shows how entrenched an object and it’s signals can become in our psyche.

Fashion is one big glorious mash up; looting from everywhere, stealing from anyone and then brazenly parading it’s booty.

The beret is one mashed up, mixed up accessory to the crime.

With a vague and blurry notion that there are some conventions, the beret plays with the rules; both mocking, and paying homage to freedom fighters, peace keepers,  the armed forces and other organised groups operating around the frayed edges of ‘civilised society’.

So, yes, it may be a cliché and elicit a bit of a giggle from some – but take a look at the organisations that the beret is looting from and you won’t see many of them laughing.

Clockwise from the top:

  • Beyoncé’s backing dancers pay homage to the Black Panthers.
  • Vincent Lappartient for Christian Dior.
  • Marxist revolutionary and international poster boy Che Guevara.

Clockwise from top left:

  • All female group of Guatemalan United Nations peace keepers.
  • Blue beret at Rodarte.
  • The elite Soviet VDV (Air Landing Forces)

Clockwise from top left.

  • An all female  group of Guardian Angels protects women from sexual assault on the New York subway.
  • Red beret at Gucci.
  • The Army of Brunei’s  Special Combat Squadron.

If you’re feeling empowered, inspired – or just fancy doing a spot of crochet – why not come and join us at Norfolk Yarn this Autumn for our Crochet Beret master class? You’ll be in good company.

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