On December 21, 2014, my wife Sarah and I were driving to Calgary from Lacombe, Alberta, when she received an invitation to an "Ugly Christmas Sweater Party." She asked me if I had an appropriate sweater to wear, but I couldn't remember if I had one or not. I felt frustrated because I don't particularly like sweaters –I tend to get hot quickly and end up rolling up the sleeves. So, I expressed to Sarah that I needed a "sHweater," a shirt-style sweater that wouldn't make me too warm. The idea struck a chord, and I immediately checked to see if the domain name "sHweater.com" was available. Much to my surprise, it was, and I registered it right then and there.
Over the next few months, I mentioned the concept of a "sHweater" to some friends and family, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. The idea was received so well that when the domain renewal notice came up in 2015, we decided to renew it. This continued for the next few years, but we weren't doing anything with it.
In 2018, when the renewal notice came up again, I asked Sarah what to do. She said that I should renew the domain, but "SHUT UP!" about it until I had a prototype made. So, we got to work, researching clothing, manufacturing, and apparel design. We designed a logo, applied for trademark registrations, made connections with clothing manufacturers, and mapped out a plan to create an original design in Bangladesh.
After some research, we realized that sizing recommendations wouldn't fit the size descriptions we were looking for, and we needed a custom pattern. In researching Pattern Design, we came across a CBC News story about a couple who had experience in clothing manufacturing and pattern design, having worked for Dolce and Gabbana in Italy.
They had relocated to Calgary and started their own clothing Design and Manufacturing company. From that CBC story, we were able to connect with them, and they agreed to help us, but they insisted that we make a premium product. Luxury was at the forefront of their expertise, and they wanted to help create a premium sHweater worthy for Canada, made locally.
Sarah and I had our work cut out for us. We had to find the perfect material, source the appliques, and start building prototypes with the Pattern Designer. The entire time, working in secret, taking trips to Vancouver, building relationships with fabric suppliers and sourcing the perfect premium materials for our new Canadian luxury product. We started designing prototypes in 2019, and it took months to design each one. We knew it would be a long, multi-year task, but we were up for the challenge.
After many designing, grading, testing, and pandemic delays, we finally, after almost 9 years, completed the perfectly graded prototype we set out to create. It's been a long journey with many challenges and setbacks, and we are finally ready to launch an amazing new Canadian concept in Clothing This Spring. (Currently in full production) Made in Canada!