A very ugly Christmas to you!
Darcy Wintonyk, ctvbc.ca
Published Monday, December 13, 2010 5:39PM PST
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 12:22AM PDT
When I think about ugly clothes for sale, my first vision is a department store clearance rack bursting with ill-fitting and tacky attire – pieces that will never be worn with pride, if they're sold at all.
But a Vancouver spa owner with a penchant for ugly holiday clothing has launched a booming business at taking those truly hideous garments and matching them with enthusiastic wearers. It's becoming a most unlikely clothing trend: having the tackiest sweater at a holiday party.
Two years ago, Kyle Reagan started his online business, Christmas Sweaters, after coming up short in his mission to find a sweater with the perfect combination of cheesiness and ugliness for a friend's party.
"I had a devil of a time finding one and I know I wasn't alone," he told ctvbc.ca.
Now armed with a mission, Reagan scoured Vancouver thrift stores, buying up cotton and wool sweaters adorned with lavish Christmas scenes, felt stockings bursting with upside-down elves, jumping snowmen and his personal favourite, the head butting reindeer.
"Nothing is too ugly," he said.
Related: CTV Holiday Guide
The budding mail-order business, run from his South Granville condo with his girlfriend in his spare time, is blossoming. This year he started with a stock of 150 – it's now dwindled to about 20.
Web traffic for the site has jumped 400-per-cent since last year, a testament to the growing popularity.
But if ugly sweaters are quickly becoming Reagan's bread and butter, what will push him to become a tycoon in the emerging field of disgusting sweaters is his latest invention: the light-up garment.
Outfitted with two AA batteries in a hidden compartment, the sweaters feature tinsel topped trees with flashing lights. Depending on how many lights they have, the garments sell for anywhere from $59 to $99.
Reagan says each one takes between an hour to an hour-and-a-half to craft.
Next year, he plans on bumping up his inventory to 500, meaning his home-made holiday business will become a year-round venture.
"It's like Christmas will never end," he said.