Carlie Yeung/the Gauntlet

Traversing the mists of Argyll

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The turn of this decade was a thrilling time, if you are old enough to remember. Economic instability, glamorous celebrities and political turmoil around the globe captured the imaginations of a generation of young people. I, a precocious yuppie, naturally turned to the sweater aisle of our city’s shopping complexes in my search for answers to the problems of the day.

Sweaters may seem a curious fashion choice in troubled times — why not a spiked collar to defy ever-increasing government authority or a beret to signify the importance of individual creativity in an era of mass-produced popular culture? The sweater’s strength, dear reader, lies in its versatility, which creates an unrivaled aura of comfort, warmth, raw sex appeal and, if selected with care and precision, respectability. The beginning of the 2010s can be fondly remembered as the Golden Age of Sweaters, a time when a veritable cornucopia of patterns and colours could be found. Sadly, as evidenced by the declines of the Portuguese trading empire and ’80s-style synthesizer pop music, not all great things are meant to last.

The Golden Age of Sweaters has since yielded to an irrepressible wave of argyle. It’s quite impossible to find a respectable sweater that does not feature this diamond pattern, which first appeared on the tartans of the Clan Campbell, residents of Scotland’s Argyll region. As you scan your surroundings and watch the ebb and flow of waves of sullen, argyle-clad urbanites, you may just wonder why this particular design has become so ubiquitous. There are two possible answers to your query. The first is that the fashion industry is trying to impose conformity in order to exploit the self-conscious and maximize profits. The second is that the Campbells, long envious of the more numerous Smiths, have sought a new manner with which to attain dominance, and what better way than having everyone wear their symbol? Unfortunately, we will not know the true reason until the corresponding document is released through WikiLeaks.

Until then, how does one circumvent this morass of argyle sweaters in the marketplace? The answer is painfully obvious: a return to domestic agriculture and textile production. Fortunately, the conveniences of our modern times will be the very facilitator of a transition to the past. Packets of cottonseed can be had on the Internet for under $10, and if wool garments are your preferred poison, you can find sheep online for as little as $200. One can quickly obtain a large herd by purchasing a single ewe and letting her run loose around the neighbourhood. From there, simply process the wool or cotton and sew a garment.

Though these are troubled times in which we live, it should be a comfort to know that we can start to make a difference by standing up to the ever-present effrontery of the fashion industry and Scottish clans.