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The Knit Cabana Shirt is the newest addition to our Cabana Set line and represents our foray into something we're very excited about: Beach Knits. This piece is inspired by an illustration that we stumbled upon titled "Manhattan Beach Buoy Ensembles." We fell in love with the style and searched high and low for something like it, but lo and behold, we found nothing...the style was truly lost and forgotten. We spent the past 6 months reproducing the piece from the illustration and we couldn't be happier with the result. See how close we got below.
We tried to reproduce this piece down to its tiniest details, but we had to make a couple of important design decisions. The original piece features an irregular square print which can only be accomplished by printing on a woven fabric, so we decided to go with a similar Nordic-style knitting pattern instead. The original piece also appears to have terry cloth hems on the sleeves, and although we're huge fans of terry cloth, we decided to knit the entire piece vs. sewing different pieces of fabric together.
While conducting our regular Hammies R&D, we learned that the first swim and beach brands of the 20th century started out as knitting mills! The original swimsuits were made of wool and left almost everything up to the imagination. As the pastime of swimming grew in popularity, Catalina (founded in 1907 as Bentz Knitting Mills) and Jantzen (founded in 1916 as Portland Knitting Company) shifted away from knitting sweaters and into knitting swimsuits. The swimsuit went on to push the limits of American fashion and modesty for the next 40 years. If you want to learn more, we recommend Making Waves: Swimsuits and the Undressing of America by Lena Lenček and Gideon Bosker. This explains why we see so many people wearing beach sweaters in vintage photos and ads from the 1950-70s.