At this Wal-mart in Las Vegas, Ugly Sweaters were given choice floor position.
Welcoming Wal-mart's Black Friday shoppers were tinseled “Ho Ho Ho” and Christmas Trees. It’s the Ugly Sweater, the anti-sentiment wearable that makes collective mocking of bad taste a visual strategy for socialization. It's the season when partygoers don the bray apparel.
With original vintage sweaters harder to find after a decade of growing popularity, compromising fashion is now an industry. Wal-Mart’s three solid years of sales for tacky Christmas sweaters had them increase inventory by 40 percent this year. Sports franchises invaded their brand to hawk their own version of the cheesy sweater. National Ugly Sweater day falls on December 16. And from what I can gather, we can blame Canada for pushing this tackiness into a trend.
The Barrick, UNLV’s art museum, will also let kitsch invade their Art Bar for a private staff holiday party. The collage workstation will be temporary filled with materials to create interpretations of low fashion, and possible that the Ugly Sweater will mock high art. Dare to picture a sweater that is Robert Rauschenberg meets Bob Ross; where found fabric and felt becomes a "combine" of dancing reindeer next to happy little trees in a bountiful burst of red and green.
Not wearing fashion faux pas in public would be a sweater fail. This is a way a wearer can be one public art spectacle and one part performance artist. In this age of selfie as art participation, look for poses next to a fake hearth to forward holiday hyperkitsch.
Above: Stephen Hendee created sculpture for the celebration of 30 years of public art programming in the City of Las Vegas.