While Jeff Bridges’ star turn as Jeff Lebowski in the 1998 Coen Brothers movie The Big Lebowski may not immediately appear to be any sort of style icon (Lebowski seems to spend most of the movie slouching around in a weather-beaten dressing gown), in the 13 years since The Big Lebowski hit our screens The Dude has become something of a trend setter, and it’s all thanks to one very special sweater.
Throughout the movie Lebowski can be seen skulking around in a rather fetching – if dirty and well past its prime – Pendleton cardigan. At the time, of course, the humble cardigan was strictly the preserve of the old and uncool – a frumpy throwback shunned by the young. In the years since, though, the cardigan has enjoyed a resurgence that has seen it become a fashion staple. While Lebowski’s sweater was intended to show that The Dude was a man unconcerned by the comings and going of fashion trends he accidentally became a style icon. Real life, it seems, imitates art, as The Dude himself made a habit of stumbling blindly into unexpected situations.
This undeniably cool cardigan is a Cowichan style piece, made by Costume Agent to replicate the original.
And here is a more modern sweater/hoodie.
The sweater is a throwback to the hippie and folkie sub-cultures of the 60s with which The Dude identifies. It’s an intentional snub to consumerism, a middle finger to The Gap, Armani and Nike. If this sweater has a slogan it’s ‘Just don’t do it’.
The Big Lebowski sweater is a vintage piece, but in the years since the movie the enormous level of interest in the cardigan spurred Pendleton to re-release it as The Dude Shawl Sweater.
The Big Lebowski cardigan is a faithful reproduction of the Cowichan style. The pattern has been rejigged a little for the sake of style, but the detail of the original remains. Shawl collar, low zipper and funky pattern are all present and correct. I’ll be rocking mine down at the bar this evening.
I like your style, Dude.