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by Jade Newman

Tradition with a twist – Whoopi Goldberg’s Christmas jumper collection

American Comedian and TV Host Whoopi Goldberg is most famed for her Academy-Award-winning appearances on the big screen. She brings an effortless presence to her motion pictures and equal measures of wisdom and serene sass to her roles (who else could pull off the part of an edgy nun!) The spotlight has allowed this natural nonconformist to shake up celebrity norms. An example of this is her attitude to red carpet glamour, where she disregards the inevitable mass of best-dressed lists and opts for ‘comfort and flow’ over audience approval. Her honest outlook, such as her preference to remain unmarried, is never compromised for column inches or career progression. After an unanticipated appearance at this autumn’s New York Fashion week, at the J. Crew Spring/Summer 2017 collection, and Pageant of the People shows, Whoopi has turned her hand to fashion design and her admirably warm and gutsy approach has been sewn into her new line of ‘funny’ Christmas jumpers.

The festive theme was a relatable concept for Whoopi as she enjoys spending the spirited season in kitsch jumpers alongside friends and family and ‘wanted [her] love of the holidays to come to life’. The eleven jovial jumpers do however have a more thought provoking narrative with individual back stories, and the unconventional imagery (such as the ‘Santa love’ sweater) is used to challenge tradition and draw attention to unacknowledged racial, sexual and religious differences within society. Much like the boundary breaking designer herself, anything goes and the quirky collection also includes Jewish yarmulkes and menorahs, female can-can reindeer, green non-biological family members and multi-racial angels. The upbeat imagery is a clear portrayal of united joy and inclusion – ‘It’s basically about how we are all in this together.’ There will be further additions to the product offering in coming years with proposed Ramadan and Kwanzaa reference points. The pricing is quite high at $139 per product but Whoopi has stated her reasoning behind this to be an opting for comfort with wool, cashmere and alpaca luxe fabrics.

Whoopi has certainly re-invigorated celebrity brand endorsement and the mainstream monotonous Christmas jumper trend. Although the costing is relatively steep and the fabrics used aren’t entirely ethical from a vegan point of view, the progressive ‘funny’ jumper collection cleverly captures the Christmas moral message amongst its commercial appeal. Whoopi has previously said that ‘we’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark’ and these products certainly substantiate her views with their undeniable undertones of peace, light and love – all much needed in today’s uncertain world!

The ugly jumper collection launched on the 1st November and is available online and from American department store Lord and Taylor and Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay. Lord & Taylor’s New York flagship will showcase a unique window installation of the collaboration for the city’s locals and tourists on the 15th November also.