Why the ‘ugly Christmas sweater’ is making waves in Deutschland

The holiday garment that became cool for being anything but cool has now crept into German culture from overseas. But does that make it uncool once again?

Why the 'ugly Christmas sweater' is making waves in Deutschland
A display of ugly Christmas sweaters in a store in New York. Photo: DPA.

It’s taken on almost cult status in the United States and the United Kingdom, but now this more horrid than haute couture fashion statement has made it to the Bundesrepublik: the ugly Christmas sweater.

While for years anglophones have thrown parties and declared official days for the often sparkling, gaudy, snowflake-bedecked knitwear, Germans have only recently picked up on the trend, which ever more stores are starting to have on offer.
“You see it now more and more,” said Axel Augustin of the Association of German Textile Retailers (BTE).
International companies that are also active in the US and UK have also recently been selling their reindeer-covered stock to Germans, Augustin explained
“I think when it comes to fashion and clothing, Germans are more daring and this can of course lead them to such things. And then they buy more of these sweaters,” Augustin added.
A spokeswoman from Swedish retail giant H&M saw it a bit differently.
“Christmas sweaters transport the pleasant anticipation of the upcoming Christmas holiday and represent having fun with fashion,” the H&M spokeswoman said.
The Scandinavian budget fashion line promoted the craze to its German Twitter base recently, writing that “The time has come! We say 'Ho Ho Ho and Merry Crustmas' to all fans of crazy Christmas sweaters.” 
Head of the German Fashion Institute Gerd Müller-Thomkins called ugly Christmas sweaters “something in between art and kitsch”.
German footballers have been among the trailblazers for bringing the trend into the country. Bayern Munich, Schalke 04 and FC Cologne all have their own Christmas sweaters for sale under their fan merchandise, often including their team mascots rather than more traditional winter animals.
Artjoms Rudnevs from FC Cologne poses in an 'ugly Christmas sweater' for his team. Photo: FC Cologne/DPA.
This year FC Schalke 04 also released an advertisement on Twitter promoting their “wonderful” and “absolute must-have” ugly sweater.
National team stars Mesut Özil und Shkodran Mustafi have also shared photos on social media, donning their best – and more unattractive – holiday garb.
London-based international NGO Save the Children has started a Christmas Jumper Day – this year on December 16th – for people to share their own silly pictures and donate money towards their cause of promoting children’s rights and support for children in developing countries.
And while Germany doesn’t (yet) have its own Christmas Jumper Day, Müller-Thomkins from the German Fashion Institute noted that the trend in just in its infancy in the Bundesrepublik – it could still grow.
“There is still a lot of space for Christmas sweaters within holiday products,” he said.
“Christmas is perhaps still taken too seriously.”

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