This is a sweater you would definitely recognize as it was famously worn by The Dude. But did you know that it is actually a celebrated item of Canada’s heritage? Cowichan sweaters have been hand-spun and woven in the Cowichan Valley since the turn of the 20th century. Authentic Cowichans use virgin wool from local sheep, relying on the aging of the sheep for the variance in color. The natural oils aren’t washed out, making all authentic Cowichans not only warm, but water resistant. Coast Salish knitters wash, dry, hand tease and card the wool, before spinning and weaving them into a one-of-a-kind sweaters. And since no two are alike, spotting these sweaters up and down the west coast is like taking a glimpse into the history of the Pacific Northwest tribes. So cool.

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www.marissamaharaj.com

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(images via The Sartorialist, Graham Ballantyne FlickrFashion Assist, The SF Style,  Article Of Style, Roots, Wayne Worden Flickr, Beach And Compass, Stoke HarvesterEmma Dime, & Jennilee Marigomen)