Cowichan sweaters have been made by the indigenous Salish women of southern Vancouver Island, Canada for centuries. The sweaters take their namesake from the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island.
Each sweater is made from 2 kilograms of raw, pure wool which retains the lanolin and waterproofs the sweater. Because of the lanolin content, the sweater should not be washed too often and can last for up to 80 years.
Cowichan sweaters are a distinctive Salish ethnic art form. The motifs include eagles, deer, birds, trees, bears, whales, salmon, snowflakes, waves and stripes which are prominent symbols in the culture of the Salish people.
Cowichan sweaters are especially favored by curling sport enthusiasts. The Cowichan sweater was also made popular by Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski in the Coen brothers’ film The Big Lebowski. They were also seen at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.