Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

All Knit Up in Sweater Instagram

Babaà cardigan. Photograph by Thomas Slack.

The first sweater that I fell in love with on Instagram was worn by a member of the tribe that I refer to as “organic moms.” Their food is organic, their clothes are organic, their toys are wooden, their children are homeschooled or Waldorf or world travellers. The sweater was a sort of marled gray, as though the wool had quite recently been removed from an unwashed sheep, and it made the wearer’s torso look like an egg. It went over dresses, and over pants, and over other sweaters, because its relationship to the body was notional. It was a sweater that could stand up on its own.

I began to see the sweater on other organic moms on Instagram, and finally I clicked on the tag: #Babaa, a Spanish company founded by Marta Bahillo, in 2012. It was their cardigan woman no19 mist (their punctuation) that I wanted, and it could be mine for two hundred and thirty euros. This seemed like a lot of money for a sweater, so I did not buy it that year.

The next winter, the organic moms got out their Babaà sweaters again and they thanked Babaà on Instagram and they still looked great. Some of them even had miniature versions for their children. It seemed like the most useful piece of clothing in the world. It seemed warm. It seemed unbothered by the winds of fashion. Every sweater that I had purchased in the previous few years had pilled or gotten a hole or turned out not to be a hundred per cent wool, even though the word “wool” was in the name of the sweater, and hence droopy or thin or just not warm. (What is the point of a not-warm sweater?) I had nostalgia for the Shetland-wool sweaters that used to be available in abundance at the Gap in the nineteen-eighties in soft jewel-tone piles. Why had I ever given mine away?