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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Ugly sweater seamlessly sports spirit

Photo courtesy of Larry Birkett The 2016 edition of Marquette’s ugly Christmas sweater seeks to present tradition with a holiday twist.

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, the Christmas season, which for some started as soon as Halloween candy came off the shelf, can begin. Marquette students constantly need to bundle up in the brutal Milwaukee weather. Marquette’s ugly Christmas sweater can provide that extra layer of warmth.

Larry Birkett, the associate director of the spirit store, who sold Marquette’s version of the ugly Christmas sweater the last three years, said the uglier the sweater is, the better.

“Last year’s — the one with the bear on it — was pretty ugly, well, pretty cute and ugly at the same time,” Birkett said. “It was definitely the kitschiest, but when I say that, I think I mean it’s the best one.”

After last year’s success, Birkett said he is excited to introduce the fourth installment of the ugly Marquette Christmas sweater, which was released yesterday.

Inspired by the 100th anniversary of MUBB, the base color palette, powder blue and gold, hearkens back to the 1977 basketball championship team. The design includes “Marquette” written at the top and features the MU logo framed with snowflakes in the middle. A line of basketball playing Santas at the bottom mimics the original 2013 version.

“The original one was the most popular and it was probably because it was the first time we did it, but I think that Santa playing basketball just puts it over the top,” Birkett said. “I like this year’s a lot actually. It looks pretty sweet, and I think the colors pop.”

Patrick Hardie, a sophomore in the College of Communication, said there is no such thing as too ugly.

“They’re ugly and that’s what makes them so fantastic, but there’s a fine balance between something too nice and too ratchet ugly,” Hardie said. “A great example of a good Christmas sweater is the one in the spirit shop with the teddy bear on it; that’s a fantastic Christmas sweater.”

The two men agreed that the ugly Christmas sweater carries a lot more meaning than just being a simple fashion trend.

“There are a lot of families at Marquette that are legacy families,” Birkett said. “Students’ older brothers went here, their parents met here, and the whole combination of tradition, family and pride has allowed it to snowball. The holidays represent a lot of family time together, and this reminds them of the whole lightheartedness of it.”

Hardie said he sees it as more of an opportunity to show off his level of Christmas cheer.

“Christmas is contained within my house, all the decorations are at my house, but when I walk the streets and show off my Christmas sweater, I can publicly express my love for Christmas,” Hardie said.

Ugly Christmas sweaters are trending everywhere. According to, Amazon reported a 600 percent increase in Christmas sweater sales in 2011, and in 2012, fifty percent of Londoners admitted to owning one.

Around the holiday season, spirit shop accessories embody this trend.

“We have an ornament in the shape of a sweater, a mug that has the sweater graphic, socks, hats, it can go on anything,” Birkett said. “I even see people wearing them all the time, like in March. One of my students wore one over the summer and I asked, ‘Why are you wearing that?’’

“Christmas sweaters have become an actual style now,” Hardie said. “They were a joke at a time, but now people wear it as a fashion statement. Basically, they’re saying, ‘This is ugly, but I look good rocking it.”’

The 2016 Marquette Ugly Christmas sweater will hit the racks this week and will be sold for $34.95.

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    TomNov 29, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Man that is an awesome design! I will have to add a link to it on . Go MUBB!