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B.C. shop sources bounty of answers to the ugly holiday sweater dilemma

Despite pandemic challenges, Victoria’s The Patch on Yates continues its annual tradition

It’s not easy stitching together the paragon of holiday ugliness into beautiful perfection for the most discerning of shoppers.

But the proprietors of The Patch clothing store in Victoria insist their shop is the best place to find this year’s most unique ugly Christmas sweater.

And they’ve got six years of this holiday tradition and over 20 years of addressing eccentric community tastes to back it up.

This sustainable textiles store in the 700-block of Yates Street has sourced about 400 completely unique knit sweaters, with more on the way ahead of the holiday rush, said owner Christopher Shurety. Unlike typical thrift products, he said, each comes recycled from textile grading factories across the world including Ukraine, South America and Africa.

“What we do is we pay a premium price to pick every piece – each is picked individually, we don’t buy any in bulk,” Shurety said.

The store, iconic on Yates Street for its window mannequin displays and store-front shopping racks, has had great success selling the garments annually as the ugly Christmas sweater craze continues.

“A week from now on a Saturday, you’re going to see people frenzied on (the Christmas sweater rack), because they all want theirs,” Shurety said. “It’s like high-waisted shorts in the spring or leathers in the fall. We take time to consider what the market wants.”

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The seasonal offering’s popularity in years past saw The Patch rent a pop-up space around the corner to house and sell a massive collection of sweaters. Challenges in receiving sweaters from their New York supplier due to pandemic shipping restrictions, combined with the redevelopment of that temporary rental space kept the same from happening this year.

Despite the relatively smaller scale this year, and the effects of the pandemic being felt on business, Shurety said, 20 per cent of each sale will be donated to a yet-to-be determined children’s charity. Past years have seen them donate to The Mustard Seed Food Bank.

The charitable component and the entire store itself, is being run by Shurety and his colleague, Morgan, as the only full-time staff.

They’re eager to hire full- or part-time workers ahead of and following the holiday season.

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