Supporting Genuine Cowichan Knitting
Knit was launched and is being managed by the Victoria Native Friendship Centre (VNFC). Knit is an Indigenous-led initiative committed to raising awareness on the importance of reclaiming Indigenous art, fair wages and preserving the heritage of the iconic Cowichan sweater.
Knit sweaters can now be purchased online!
“The Cowichan sweater is so much more than clothing. It’s the passing down of culture, of telling stories and sharing traditions. It is this rich heritage that lives in every one of these sustainable treasures. Properly compensating Coast Salish artisans for their work not only provides them with a quality of life but ensures the continuation and protection of the sacred designs that are passed down through generations, I’m proud to be a part of this milestone initiative that ensures the social responsibility and authenticity of the unique craftsmanship that goes into every Cowichan sweater.”
Ron Rice – Wush’q, MGC.
The Cowichan sweater became popular with the settler community in the 1920s, during a period when Indigenous crafts were seen as valuable collectibles. The increase in popularity raised the profile of the Cowichan sweater among non-Indigenous markets. Large companies were soon making profits off the misappropriation of Cowichan knitters. In the 1950s, imitation sweaters grew in popularity, often using similar designs made from inauthentic material and stealing the Cowichan name. These knock-off sweaters are disrespectful to Indigenous knitters and a cultural exploitation of the true Cowichan sweater.
Authentic Cowichan sweaters are made by Coast Salish artisans, using sheep to knit sacred patterns. Every Knit collection guarantees authenticity over imitation, supports fair wages for Indigenous artisans and upholds the traditions of the Coast Salish people. Purchasing a Knit sweater is a meaningful way to stand against cultural appropriation and support Indigenous community.