Belfast Telegraph

Festive sweaters that'll have you in stitches go on sale at Belfast's Christmas market

BY JOANNE SWEENEY

It's one of the funniest moments of the Bridget Jones's Diary movie when Bridget meets Mark Darcy who's wearing a hideous Christmas sweater.

Soon shoppers at Belfast's Christmas Continental Market will have the chance to buy the best of the ugliest festive sweaters around.

The cost of buying the unique vintage sweaters, some customised to look even more 'festive', will set you back between £25 and £45.

The sweaters are from one of two young mums whose novel business start-ups won a free stand at the City Hall market, courtesy of organiser's Pitch Perfect competition.

Lisa McBride (39), from Ugly Christmas Sweaters, and Astra McNicholl, from the Itty Bitty Book Co, can avail of the free stand plus marketing advice support while they promote their new businesses to the market-goers.

Belfast woman Lisa believes that she has an eye for the next big thing in customised and bespoke clothing.

She won her international media coverage when her yellow studded baseball hat was worn by Justin Beiber earlier this year.

The canny costume designer gave the hat to her cousin's daughter, who just happened to be meeting Justin after his Dublin concert. He wore it the next day in London and the media picked up on the unusual style, resulting in Lisa's Street Urchin range of caps selling like hot cakes on eBay.

She's just received a consignment of 1,000 sweaters for the start of the market on Saturday. Lisa will be customising the sweaters and looking after her two daughters, newborn Marni and Lila (2), while her husband Mark (39) runs the stand.

"All of the sweaters are vintage, at least 20 years old and authentic. Each one is original, some of which I have customised with baubles, LED lights, tinsel and bells."

The Itty Bitty Book Co was developed by Astra and her husband Al (32).

The couple have developed three original hand-bound miniature books filled with inspirational quotes selected by Al.

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