Annika’s Cardigan

Annika Heller | Hamburg, Germany |


You might look at this cardigan and not see anything special about it. You might even think it’s quite an ugly piece.

To me, it’s one of my favourite clothing companions.

I was looking for a big chunky cardigan for a long time. I was at art school and I loved this oversized, slightly odd look. I spotted it in my favourite charity shop in my university town. The shop was quite ugly too, but I got quite a view of my favourite pieces there. When I got this piece, it smelled like a smoking grandpa. The colours were a bit faded and it looked like it hang there for a long time. I looked at the label and even then, about 3 years ago, you could barely see that it was made in Italy. And it was only 5 Euro. I saw the potential and took it with me.

I had to wash it in the bath tub 2 times before I dared to put it in the washing machine. Dirt and cold smoke washed out of it and for a second I thought about trashing it, but I weirdly fell in love with this thing. I imagined a grandpa wearing this all the time. His daughter going through his closet at some point and giving it away to the charity shop. And me finding it, maybe years later.

After washing it 3 times, it got a bit of colour back and smelled nice again. And from that point on I wore it basically nonstop.

What makes it so special for me?

This cardigan was with me in so many situations. I had it on when I went to my first solo trip abroad. When I lay in my host family’s house bedroom, I hung it up and it comforted me. I stood on the cliffs in England with it, just me, the wind, the ocean and my beloved grandpa cardigan. I walked through London wearing it and I spent a horrible day trapped in the Eurostar terminal in Brussels in it. When it got too warm, it was my pillow. It also was my pillow in various hostel rooms, where they only have those tiny, flat things.

I went on many hikes with it, stood on mountain tops and walked through forests with it. I love the long sleeves, that keep me warm when it’s not cold enough for gloves but too cold for bare hands. I like that it’s long enough to wear it with leggings, if I want to. I love that it’s quite light for such big chunky cardigan, so I can perfectly stuff it in my backpack when travelling. I love that it’s dark and doesn’t get stained easily. And I love that the pattern looks like two hearts on the left chest, when you look closely.

In art school I had do make a film, representing myself. And I wore this cardigan because I felt it’s the most accurate piece. It makes me happy to know that this cardigan had a life before I found it and that nobody got harmed by my purchase. That’s the beauty of second hand clothing: You can give unwanted pieces a new life.

So cheers for my beloved grandpa cardigan now that it’s getting cold enough to wear it again.



Thanks for sharing your love story Annika!

Read more about Annika and her slow fashion journey you can also check out her blog or Instagram.

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