Rare fringe jacket ‘made in 1850s by indigenous nations in west Canada’ turns up at a vintage clothing warehouse in Barnsley – and shop bosses want to reunite it with its community
A rare Indigenous Canadian jacket believed to be more than 170 years old has turned up at a vintage clothing warehouse in the UK.
The brown fringe jacket arrived at the Glass Onion vintage warehouse in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, after it was brought to Britain from a clothing bale in America.
It is believed that the jacket was made in the 1850s by someone in one of the Métis or Cree indigenous nations in western Canada.
Alice Leadbetter, 27, the shop’s head of marketing, said the item of clothing is in ‘great condition’ and ‘instantly stood out’ to her as soon as she saw it.
The store will not put the rare historic item on sale as it wants to reunite the jacket with the community that made it.
This rare Indigenous Canadian jacket believed to be more than 170 years old has turned up at a vintage clothing warehouse in the UK
Alice said: ‘The jacket was amongst hundreds of others that came in the bales, but thankfully our team are experts in vintage clothing and instantly knew this one was special.
‘We’ve been in the vintage business for over 15 years, and we have never seen a jacket quite like this one.
‘The super soft leather, incredible beadwork, and attention to detail in the design were what instantly stood out as soon as we saw it.
‘Next to the other 60s and 70s fringe jackets, it was obvious that this one was extra special and had an amazing story to tell.’
Alice is currently investigating where the jacket is from and has said she is ‘determined to discover its story.’
The Glass Onion vintage warehouse in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, will not put the jacket up for sale and intends to return the jacket to the community that made it
It is believed that the jacket was made in the 1850s by someone in one of the Métis or Cree indigenous nations in western Canada
She said: ‘A lot of hours have gone into researching the jacket’s possible origins, but I’ve been determined to discover its story.
‘The jacket is yet to be assessed by a professional in person, but thanks to the help of the TikTok community and experts all over the world, we think we think we’ve been able to narrow it down.
‘Certain design elements (such as the olive-green chain stitch on the pockets) indicate it was likely made around the 1850s, possibly by an artist for a family member or a fur trader.
‘The consensus is that it it’s likely Métis or Cree from Western Canada (Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta).
‘We’ve recently found out that the fringe tassels are wrapped in dyed porcupine-quills too which is pretty crazy.
The jacket is thought to have been made in Western Canada in the mid-19th century
‘The research is still ongoing but I’m constantly discovering something new about this incredible piece so feels like we’re one step closer every week to uncovering its history.’
She has also said she would love to reunite the jacket with its community and has said that if anyone has any information about it, they should contact Glass Onion.
Alice, of Ormskirk, Lancs,. said: ‘I’m trying not to rush anything and make sure I’m doing everything in the right and respectful way.
‘It would be amazing to get confirmation of where the jacket is from and who made it so we can look at reuniting the piece with its community.
‘It feels like we’re not far away now.’