The Big Business of Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Garish Christmas sweaters are big business
Photograph by Eric Helgas for Bloomberg Businessweek

As an avid sports fan and the owner of Forever Collectibles, a sports memorabilia company in Somerset, N.J., Michael Lewis has seen his share of over-the-top apparel. Still, he wasn’t prepared for what he encountered last Dec. 20, when he came to work and found dozens of employees wearing garish sweaters covered in lights, bells, and ornaments. “It really hit me like a brick, because one outfit was more hideous than the next,” he says. It turns out it was National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, celebrated since 2011 on the second or third Friday of December. The craze had eluded Lewis until then, but by day’s end he was hashing out a plan to develop a line of sports-themed ugly Christmas sweaters.

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