Issue: August 2001
Fishing Fashion

The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C., displays elegant fisherman’s coats from Awaji Island. No overalls or rubberboots here.


     Watermen’s fashions have never been known to take the high road here in Bay country. Deciding what ball cap to wear might cross a few minds, but probably not. Not so in Japan, apparently, where the Awaji Island fishermen donned exquisite coats covered in embroidery lovingly done by their wives. Using white thread, the women stitched complicated designs to adorn indigo-dyed, hand-woven cloth, which was fashioned into a robe, or “donza,” worn only by the watermen of the island. These quilted coats were made until the1920s and are still worn during major spring festivals. See them through September 2, 2001, at the Textile Museum, 2320 S Street N.W., Washington, D.C. The museum is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday 1–5 p.m. Admission is free; suggested donation $5. For more information, call 202-667-0441.