IMG_5284In case you hadn’t noticed, this year’s holiday meme is the Ugly Sweater. They are everywhere, on news shows and at holiday parties. They were even the subject of controversy this year when Hallmark revised the holiday refrain on one of their ugly sweater-shaped ornaments from “don we now our gay apparel” to “don we now our fun apparel.”

But ugly sweaters were not always a feature in the L.A. holiday season. After all, most Angelenos don’t prize looking “ugly.”

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Chisara (Chisa) Iwuagwu, pictured left in one of her hand-adorned sweaters, set out to change that. By day Chisa teaches in an elementary school. By night and weekend, she greets anti-style seekers in a tiny pop-up storefront in Burbank, which grew out of demand for the vintage and embellished sweaters she was selling on ShopUglySweaters.com.

Chisa, who has a pipeline to a supply in the Midwest, and customer Gilbert Raposa tell DnA what makes a truly beautiful ugly sweater; and they discuss why L.A. might be late to this particular trend (listen to the audio below). You can find Ugly Sweaters at 2306 B West Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank, open Saturday and Sunday and weekdays after the 19th through Christmas.

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KCRW’s Bryan Dietzman alerted DnA to Chisa’s sweater shop in Burbank. Pictured above is Bryan employing yet another meme of 2013, the selfie. Pictured below is KCRW staff sporting their holiday apparel.

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