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Turn down for what? Ugly Sweater Day to fight climate change earns a full-out fashion review

Photo courtesy of Brigitte Morin

What’s old became new again as the Office of Campus Sustainability (OCS) debuted its new collection of woolly wearables for Ugly Sweater Day.

The ugly sweater line premiere was inspired by the World Wildlife Federation’s National Sweater Day initiative aimed at reducing energy consumption by turning the heat down in the winter.

“It’s the first time we’ve celebrated this,” said Alice Tremblay, the group’s volunteer outreach and communications coordinator.

According to Tremblay, who’s in her final year of biology and environmental studies at the University of Ottawa, the goal is to fight climate change by turning down the heat in your home by two degrees and rocking a sweater instead of a T-shirt.

The romantic February-themed collection featured an array of slouchy, heavy-knit graphic wool sweaters and statement accessories from the Free Store. The hallway-turned-runway displayed a remarkable unisex collection drawing from nostalgic ‘90s patterns and stripes reminiscent of Marc Jacob’s first collection for Perry Ellis in 1992.

A highlight and archival piece from the soft-grunge collection was a muted, multi-coloured, vertically striped poncho with an applique of white, heavy-fringed tassels. Adding warmth to any outfit while still looking fresh and current, it will surely be a favourite for the rest of the winter.

Another well-received piece was a shrunken forest green and black wool blended Glebe Collegiate varsity sweater, fitting perfectly amongst the rest of the collection’s floral sweaters and cardigans. Its vile elbow patches are fit for a Gee-Gee who lives in Doc Martens and loves Tumblr.

A quirky element was also added to the show with OCS’ use of accessories, such as magenta and cotton-candy pink coloured feather boas, clown-sized brown and black fedoras, and eccentric oversize Coke bottle glasses, providing the perfect juxtaposition of fabrics and texture. Masquerade masks also played a subtle role, perfect for those who crave attention but not too much of it, found in neutral black but still donning outrageous sequins.

The show’s models were also encouraged to use a ‘90s sitcom house setting, opting for photos sitting down on a stiff vintage leather couch between two potted ferns and a red shag carpet, with campy artwork behind them.

The Ugly Sweater Day showcase embodied a laid-back revival of vertical and horizontal graphic-patterned muted wools and harsh mixed mediums, offering much excitement for fans of incongruity and spectators who love the spotlight.




  • Spring 2022: Desiree Nikfardjam Fall 2021: Zofka Svec 2020-2021: Aisling Murphy 2019-2020: Ryan Pepper 2018-2019: Iain Sellers 2017-2018: Ryan Pepper