Tuesday, October 13, 2009
HBC's Cowichan "style" sweater. In the business of ripping off Canadians for 300 years and counting.
As a knitter I have an admiration for the sweaters made by the Cowichan knitters of the West coast. They are individually unique garments and much prized by their wearers for both their current fashionability and their warmth. Not only that but the 100 plus years of tradition that are behind the sweaters and the work that goes into them.
I few hundred years ago a company was formed that exploited Native North Americans in the name of profit. This company was the Hudson's Bay Company, formed by profit seeking British businessmen. Looks like the exploitation never goes out of style. Cowichan knitters applied for the sweater contract for the 2010 Olympics and really, what could have been BETTER than a Canadian original being worn by our Canadian team and marketed to teh Canadian people. Instead the Bay chose to be "inspired" by the Cowichan tradition and create knock offs to sell for $350 to commemorate the Olympics on Canada's West Coast.
More links to this story: Cowichan News Leader.com
Now Public article.
Vancouver Sun article.
I am not a big fan of the Olympics. I think that they are a fairly useless drain on the tax payer's resources. The MILLIONS of dollars spent on this event could have contributed to cleaning up Vancouver's homeless and drug addicted, but no, there was never enough money for the programs etc but there is HEAPS of money for the Olympics. How many Canadians have to pay for the PR grab of hosting the Olympics? How many drug addicts had to go without treatment because of a governments lack of funds for the programs that we pay our taxes to support? How many homeless shiver and die in the alleys because the shelters are under funded?
Anyway, I guess my point is that in the end someone always gets ripped off but why does it always have to be the little guy.
If you want an Cowichan sweater, buy an authentic one. They cost less than the Bay's version and you know it was made by a Native North American artisan. If you want a sweater in this "style' then hire a knitter to make you one. Mass marketting kills the allure and pride.
Posted by Ali P at 9:48 AM