Although Christmas ugly sweaters are more of an American thing, on account of the festive holiday happening in our summer, I do love gaudy knick-knacks. And the Windows XP-inspired ugly sweater ticks all the right boxes.
There’s just one thing: it only launched in the US, and is already sold out.
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced the nostalgia-fuelled merch featuring the iconic default wallpaper that came with Windows XP computers. Titled “Bliss”, the photo of the idyllic grassy hills and bright blue sky was taken by former National Geographic photographer Charles O’Rear.
He snapped the picture in the late 90s of the Californian Sonoma County landscape, which Microsoft then licensed for use with its 2001 operating system. If Sonoma sounds familiar, it’s likely because Apple recently used the name for its latest version of macOS.
Windows XP was the operating system of my childhood and many other millennials who likely saw the famous photo on a daily basis. Not only that, but the catchy boot-up and shutdown jingles still ring in my head today.
It might be weird to recall computer software with such reverence: it was just an operating system, after all. On the contrary, Windows XP represented more than just a computer interface. I, among many others, fondly associate it with a specific moment in time. Brands sure know how to monetise nostalgia – I’d cop the Windows XP ugly sweater in a heartbeat.
Windows ugly sweater for a good cause
It’s not just sheer capitalism behind the merch. Sweaters sold went towards supporting The Nature Conservancy, an environmental preservation organisation. Even though the threads are already sold out – without an Australian release, I might add – there’s still a cool website on display that harkens back to the Windows XP era.
On a similar theme, Sony recently shared an update on Aloy’s Forest Project, an initiative aimed at global reforestation tied in with Horizon Forbidden West, a PlayStation 5 game that released last year. The campaign has so far resulted in more than 600,000 trees planted worldwide and 1,800 acres of wildlife restoration.