When a few women I encountered on the street outside of an art show complimented my sweater, I didn't think much of it. The sweater is very good, and these women clearly had taste, but that's just another day in New York, baby!
But then I received another compliment, and then another, and by the time John Mulaney's ex-wife, the fashionable artist Anna Marie Tendler, stopped me to ask if I was wearing that sweater, I realized this wasn't just any old cardigan. The sweater itself was a celebrity, and like Jennifer Lawrence's husband, I was famous by association.
I can hardly take the credit for my fans' adoration (clearly, I haven't let any of this get to my head). The sweater is by the brand Myracle, which was founded just last year by two New York-based grad school students, Beste Tonga and Hilal Palacioglu. All of Myracle's sweaters are created in Turkey, where both founders are from, hand-made by women who have been knitting for most of their lives — including Tonga and Palacioglu's own friends and family members.
Though Myracle's main goal was simply to build an empowering, sustainable business, the founders did more than that: they created this season's 'it' sweater in the process.
"We both come from families where our moms couldn't work and couldn't make money," Beste told me last year. "So we wanted to do something to empower women to work."
So, to answer the questions of the five (!) women who asked me if my sweater was "from that brand that employs women in Turkey," the answer is yes! And each creation includes a handwritten tag featuring the name of the knitter who spent time making it.
Myracle's creative process is a collaborative one. Beste and Hilal work with their knitters to come up with designs, and from there, each sweater is handmade to order. From start-to-finish, the process takes a single knitter about a week to complete. At an average of $230 per piece, the price tag reflects the tremendous amount of work that goes into not just the creation of the sweaters, but the building of the Myracle brand itself. Beste and Hilal, who sell their products on their Etsy shop, have found unlikely success in the fickle world of Instagram and TikTok. Their most popular styles, the Cloud Cardigan and the Red Strawberry Cardigan, are exceedingly popular among a certain set of influencers.
Full disclosure: I was gifted my cardigan — which features softball-sized knit plush strawberries stitched onto white wool — after interviewing Beste and Hilal for a story about knitting trends in early spring of this year. When I received my Red Strawberry Cardigan over the summer, it was too hot to wear, but now that the temperature has dipped below 60 degrees? It's about to become my go-to statement piece.
Don't just take my word for it, though. Ask the woman who (with my permission) touched the sweater to see if it was "itchy or scratchy," as some wool sweaters can be.
"Oh wow, that's so cozy," she said, admiring the wool. "I think I'm going to order one myself."
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