Saturday, 24 December 2011

The Looking Like Your Christmas Tree Trend

Worn with the ultimate style!

As I admire the work-of-art that is our Christmas tree, I am led to a burning question; who ever thought it would be a good idea to dress in the same way? The Christmas jumper, emblazoned with snowmen, Santas or generic winter scene has been an object of festive humour for decades but in Winter 2011 it is both at the height of fashion and at its very fugliest.

Alongside gold, frankinscense and myrrh, some would have you believe Jesus received the first hand-knitted sweater courtesy of the three shepherds; they had enough wool after-all! However, its position on the Loud Scale from 1 to ‘you-literally-cannot-fit-another-felt-bauble-on-there’ is unmentioned in the scriptures. It is easier to track its rise to gaudy fame from the 1960s, alongside the general fashion revolution and commercialisation of Christmas.

Millions could suddenly watch their favourite television stars donning an ornate sweater for the Christmas special via this new technological form of mass-communication and then, of course, the eighties arrived. The decade for gaudy, loud and unforgiving fashion embraced the jumper and took home-made knits to a whole new level. It is at this point that we should probably thank Bill Cosby for the inspiration his spellbinding-or just plain blinding-array of sweaters gave throughout the running of his own television show until 1992. In fact, if you’re currently looking for inspiration, here is his portfolio-

 Possibly in delayed mourning to the daring fashion decade, the early noughties saw the massive rise of the Ugly Sweater Party. Vancouverites, Jordan Birch, Chris Boyd, and Scott Lindsay, have quite willingly put their name to the creation of this event after holding their initial celebrations back in 2001. Eggnog flows, carols are sung and the ugliest jumpers known to mankind are awarded for their utter repulsiveness. The trend is so compelling that the trio have even produced their own book on the etiquette of hosting or attending such an event. 

The amount of people who turned up to the Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party in Vancouver
To be the ‘Belle of the Ball’ though, requires the most repulsive sweater in existence and sites are popping up all over to meet demand. Ugly jumper entrepreneur, Nancy Schloetel, told ABC News that she can actually sell her sweaters for more by ‘uglifying’ them; customised pieces have included battery-operated lights and even a sewn-on Nativity scene!

Now tell me, have British bloggers seen the recent BBC advert with all our familiar faces sporting novelty Christmas jumpers? That was quite a large order for David and Judy Fitchie but apparently, “the demand is certainly there”. Ever more so this year as fashion has celebrated any kind of motifed jumper along with the traditional winter Fair-Isle designs seen on the runways. 

It began with Balenciaga’s German shepherd top and now stars like Kelly Rowland, Justin Bieber, Fearne Cotton, Selma Blair and Matt Damon have all been spotted working Christmas kitsch.

Kay Barron, senior fashion news and features editor at Grazia (a trusty trend source, one may claim) says, "loads of the girls in the office are wearing them...we've had snowflakes, Fair Isles and even a Rudolph". At GQ magazine, associate editor Robert Johnston admits: "I've always secretly loved them. I was at a party last week and no less than three other men were wearing them." 

Topshop are selling a similar design at the moment (Colin Firth not included)
In Britain, our current economic climate is being blamed for the extra stardom that the festive sweater is having. Uncertainty about the financial future can be masked for a few days with massive, reindeer-emblazoned jumpers it seems.

So there you have it; Christmas is on the verge of arrival and faster than you can dibs the last mince-pie, it will be over but resurrect that novelty knit with pride tomorrow. They’re fun, great conversation-starters and, who knows, people may leave presents at your feet by accident!

Merry Christmas everyone!