mcgarrybowen and Brita create the Ugliest Ugly Sweater ever, woven from recycled plastic waste

Today is National Ugly Sweater Day so what better time to highlight this great iniative by mcgarrybowen and Brita, who have created the Ugliest Ugly Sweater ever.

So, what makes Brita’s sweater “the ugliest?”  Because single-use plastic bottles are wrecking our planet and filling our oceans with trash. Americans use 2,000 single-use plastic bottles every second, and nearly 70% of those are not recycled. Brita wanted to show their commitment to eliminating the nasty habit of bottled water with an idea that could work during the holiday season. So, mcgarrybowen decided to create the Ugliest Ugly Sweater ever that was woven from recycled plastic waste. They hope people wear the Ugliest Ugly Sweaters to all their holiday parties and get others talking about this ugly problem.

Here’s how they did it:

Design and Production

  • Five inhouse designers from mcgarrybowen created sweater designs that blend traditional holiday kitsch with imagery of plastic waste and its impact on the environment:
    • Snowflake: This design rings in the holidays with a snowflake made from bottled water waste and dead fish. The sleeves also feature alternating patterns of bottled water and dead fish.
    • Faux Cardigan: This sweater shows up for the holidays adorned with planet-wrecking bottled water and sad, dead sea life. An underwater scene shows single-use plastic floating amongst dead whales, fish, and turtles.
    • Ho Ho Hoax: This sweater lights up the party with strings of bottled water and dead fish trapped inside. The back features a fun message from Santa: Bottled water is a Ho Ho Hoax
    • Ice Caps: This sweater chills out in an icy blue winter scene awash with floating plastic waste and a tragically marooned polar bear.
    • Grandma: This cozy sweater is complete with ribbon sleeves and a quilt-patterned front, featuring lots of dead sea life and seahorses trapped inside plastic water bottles.
  • mcgarrybowen worked closely with Knitwear Lab (, an industrial knitwear manufacturing and design company based in Amsterdam, to produce the sweaters. All in all, 5 unique designs were created and 500 total sweaters were produced.
  • Each limited-edition sweater is made from 80% recycled materials, including 40% recycled plastic.
  • All sweaters are finished with custom tags that feature Brita’s “Drink Like You Care” message

Packaging and Message

  • In addition to the sweaters, they designed and created custom boxes–from recycled materials, of course–to deliver our key messages.
  • And for the sweater tag, well, it’s Brita’s tag!


  • Brita worked with Amazon to create a custom storefront ( to sell a box containing The Ugliest Ugly Sweater and filtering bottle bundles for $24.99 each. (They’re limited so get yours now!)
  • Since then, the sweaters have been picked up by numerous sustainability influencers, including eco-conscious celebrity influencer, Stephanie Shepherd.

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