Minister's Gift To Chicago's Mayor Sparks "Sweatergate" - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Minister’s Gift To Chicago’s Mayor Sparks “Sweatergate”

Published March 19, 2016

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The traditional Icelandic sweater Iceland’s Minister of Industry and Tourism gave Chicago’s mayor was actually made in China.

Vísir reports that Minister of Industry and Tourism Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir gave Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel a “lopapeysa”, a traditional Icelandic sweater, when the two met yesterday. While the sweater is one of Iceland’s iconic emblems, it has come to light that this particular sweater is made by the company 66° North, and manufactured in China.

The Handknitting Association of Iceland is reportedly unhappy with the choice of gift, adding that “all of our sweaters are made here in Iceland, which is not the case for many of the sweaters sold here.”

Reporters contacted Fannar Páll Aðalsteinsson, the marketing director of 66° North, who confirmed the sweater’s manufacturing origins. He added that while his company had no knowledge of the Minister’s intended gift, their sweaters are made from Icelandic wool and are knit in harmony with Icelandic design, and that it is “no secret that our products are manufactured overseas”.

Many of Vísir’s readers seem to side with the Handknitting Association on this one. In an online poll on Vísir, 86% of respondents – numbering just over 3,000 at the time of this writing – believe Chicago’s mayor should forget (gleyma) rather than keep (geyma) the sweater in question.

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