Rare fringe jacket ‘made in the 1850s by indigenous peoples of Western Canada’ turns up in a vintage clothing warehouse in Barnsley – and shop owners want to reunite it with the community
A rare native Canadian jacket believed to be over 170 years old has turned up in a vintage clothing warehouse in the UK.
The fringed brown jacket arrived at vintage Glass Onion department store in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, after being brought to Britain from a clothes bale in America.
The jacket is believed to have been made in the 1850s by someone in one of the Métis or Cree indigenous peoples of western Canada.
Alice Leadbetter, 27, the store’s head of marketing, said the garment is in ‘excellent condition’ and ‘immediately caught my eye’ as soon as she saw it.
The store will not list the rare historical item for sale as it wants to reunite the jacket with the community that made it.
This rare native Canadian jacket believed to be over 170 years old has turned up in a vintage clothing warehouse in the UK
Alice said: ‘The jacket was one of hundreds of others to come in the bales, but thankfully our team are experts in vintage clothing and knew right away that this was special.
“We’ve been in the vintage business for over 15 years and we’ve never seen a coat like this.
“The super soft leather, incredible beadwork and attention to detail in the design immediately caught our eye when we saw it.
“Besides the other fringe jackets from the 60s and 70s, it was clear that this one was extra special and had a great story to tell.”
Alice is currently investigating where the jacket came from and has said she is ‘determined to discover its story’.
Glass Onion vintage department store in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, will not be offering the coat for sale and intends to return the coat to the community that made it
The jacket is believed to have been made in the 1850s by someone in one of the Métis or Cree indigenous peoples of western Canada
She said: “Many hours have gone into researching the possible origins of the jacket, but I am determined to discover the story.
“The jacket has yet to be personally reviewed by a professional, but with the help of the TikTok community and experts around the world, we believe we’ve been able to fine-tune it.
‘Certain design elements (such as the olive chain stitch on the pockets) indicate that it was probably made around 1850, possibly by an artist for a relative or a fur trader.
“The consensus is that it is probably Métis or Cree from Western Canada (Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta).
“We recently discovered that the fringed tassels are also wrapped in painted porcupine quills, which is pretty crazy.
The jacket is said to have been made in Western Canada in the mid-19th century
“The research is ongoing, but I’m constantly discovering something new about this incredible piece, so it feels like each week we’re getting one step closer to revealing the history.”
She has also said that she would very much like to reunite the jacket with the community and has said that if anyone has any information about it, they should contact Glass Onion.
Alice, van Ormskirk, Lancs,. said, “I try not to rush anything and make sure I do everything the right way and respectfully.
“It would be great to get confirmation of where the jacket came from and who made it so we can see if we can reunite the garment with the community.
“It feels like we’re not far off now.”