For the past twenty years, as Christmas approaches, jumpers (sweaters) with prints that rival each other in ugliness have been flooding the shelves: an illuminated Christmas tree, a reindeer's head with a prominent nozzle, a snowman wrapped in his flashy LED scarf... kitsch is displayed without any complexes because sinking into the excesses of genres, old-fashioned patterns or flashy colours is quite simply trendy!
Inherited from an Anglo-Saxon tradition, propelled to the screen by Bridget Jones in the 2000s, the "ugly Christmas jumper" never ceases to pride itself. From the traditional jumper knitted by our grandmothers to the must-have, it has gained its' fashion status and is even celebrated as a world day every 3rd Friday in December.
Contrary to the sophisticated holiday attire, the "ugly jumper" is as flashy as it is cheesy. One puts it on with humour to claim his self-mockery during family and friends evenings or to make the most of it during work aperitifs. Wearing it gives you the guarantee of a nostalgic journey, marked by an assumed regression and a safe return to childhood. Who could have said a few years ago that the textile design of sleighs or elves would become Proust's madeleine? We knew the magic of Christmas, not so much the magic of fashion!
And yes, bad taste is a big hit. The success of the tap-sock combo, fur fangs or platform sneakers confirms the phenomenon. Brands have clearly understood that by exploring new stylistic territories, ugliness could fascinate without being perceived as the antithesis of aesthetics.
This paradox is popular with the millennials in particular. Shoppers hyper-connected to international cultural references, they want to shake up the classic codes of "beauty". Abolishing stereotypes, favouring "feel good" clothes, rethinking fashion is a fixette for every millennial. Fast to grasp and declined as a marketing concept, "retailtainment" (a contraction between retail and entertainment) offers young people the opportunity to have fun through offbeat challenges, to live a short but intense experience around a trashy garment or accessory, to make it the unifying element shared massively on social networks. The more it stings the eyes, the more successful the buzz is!
The millennium disrupts the clothing market as it revolutionises the inclusive fashion market. This generation wants to break free from its elders by redefining standards. It doesn't matter if they are beautiful or ugly, as long as they are atypical and extremely playful. Get ready, the best of the worst is yet to come!