The Maker's Mark 2022 Holiday Sweater Is Actually Kind Of Cute

The ugly holiday sweater and the knock-knock joke have more in common than you may think. Both are kind of corny, both can be dusted off and trotted out again and again without losing their humor, and both tend to grow on us over time. But whereas the origins of the knock-knock joke can be traced to something Shakespeare wrote at the turn of the 17th century (via Best Life), the ugly holiday sweater was born of the modern age, according to CNN Style, its first iteration being the "Jingle Bell Sweaters" of the 1950s. 

Nordic in style, they weren't ugly so much as cringingly on-the-nose when worn by celebrities on holiday television specials of that age. But that's the thing about ugly holiday sweaters. Ugly holiday sweaters are not ugly. Sure, they're loud, and, yeah, they're not usually flattering, but how can something so beloved be ugly? And we suspect we're not the only ones who aren't sure that ugly is the right word for what might be more accurately referred to as a "traditional holiday sweater."

In fact, that's what they're calling the sartorial collaboration between eco-conscious knitwear company The Endery and Maker's Mark, producers of the iconic Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky. "We've partnered with Maker's Mark to reimagine the traditional holiday sweater," says The Endery in a press release sent to Tasting Table. And it sure is NOT ugly. In fact, it's actually kind of cute, and while pricey, it is also sustainable and philanthropic in its intention.

100% of the proceeds are earmarked for good

Maker's Mark and The Endery have teamed up to re-envision the "ugly Christmas sweater" as the "Patchwork Smash Unisex Sweater." The sweater comes in three vivid color schemes: Bourbon by the Fire, Whisky Glow, and Gingersnap. The sweaters look quite different from your more traditional ugly holiday sweaters and are crafted with sustainability, quality, and the wellbeing of artisans responsible in mind.

First, per the press release, the sweaters are all handcrafted of scraps of alpaca wool and Pima cotton leftover from other projects. In other words, these holiday sweaters are helping keep textile waste out of landfills. Further, the sweaters are characterized as "bespoke," suggesting they'll be handmade to order by artisans in Lima, Peru. Finally, proceeds from the sales of the sweaters will go back to those creating them. According to the press release, "All sales from the bespoke knitwear will go directly back to The Endery's workers in Peru to improve their facilities and safeguard the indigenous knitters' traditional craft, amplifying the positive impact for their communities."

That goes a long way toward explaining the $250 price tag per sweater. But it's not just environmental sustainability, there's also a sort of sustainability for the wearer, which is to say that these sweaters are designed and manufactured as heirlooms for future generations, as The Endery explains.