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Vintage Shop Gets Help From Internet When Rarest Find In Their 15-Year History Shows Up.

Indigenous Jacket discovered in British thrift store

Half the fun of shopping at thrift stores is finding something completely unexpected. Staff members at Glass Onion vintage shop in South Yorkshire, England are used to opening random items while sorting through the thousands of garments that pass through the store, but in July 2022, one item stopped them in their tracks. While going through hundreds of jackets that came from their supplier in the United States, a sorter pulled out an incredible handmade buck hide jacket with delicate fringe and intricate embroidery.

In the 15 years they’ve been in business, staff members had never seen anything quite like it. The leather is butter-soft, and they could tell from the attention to detail that someone had spent a long time crafting the garment. It was clear that this jacket is very old, and potentially meaningful to a community Glass Onion shop workers know nothing about. They decided to ask for help from North American indigenous communities on TikTok.


Maybe one of our rarest ever vintage finds 🤯 We’d love to learn more about this incredible piece! Let us know if you can help #nativetiktok #indigenous #indigenoustiktok #thriftfind #rarevintage #fyp #vintage

♬ original sound – Tony Duncan

“We’d never seen a jacket quite like that before, so we knew it was something really special,” stated Alice Leadbetter, Glass Onion’s head of marketing.

The social media response was overwhelming. People were immediately invested in discovering the jacket’s history, and many users put Alice in touch with organizations and government agencies who could help. Thousands of people chimed in with ideas to trace the garment’s path through life. Textile and indigenous cultures experts examined the beadwork and stitching techniques in order to determine its age and narrow down where it was made.


Replying to @chubbyduck An update on the vintage Native jacket we found ☺️ Sorry for taking so long in posting an update, it took a while to hear back from all the experts and do the research. Please help if you’ve got any more information! #nativetiktok #native #vintagefinds #indigenous #fyp #indigenoustiktok #thriftfinds

♬ original sound – Glass Onion Vintage

It turns out, this jacket was likely made in the early-to-mid-1800s, making it about 170 years old!

“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,” Alice explained. “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,” she added.

Maureen Matthews of the Manitoba Museum in Canada helped Alice further narrow down the jacket’s origin. The style of embroidery was taught in the Red River region in the 1850s. They believe it was originally made for a Cree fur trader, but that theory hasn’t been verified yet.

Alice and the other staff members continue to research the jacket, which they will not place for sale. They’re hoping they can reunite it with its indigenous community back in Canada, just as soon as they figure out where that is!

“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,” said Alice.


Replying to @Rosalie Collis Some interesting developments in discovering the story of this amazing jacket! ☺️ Let us know your thoughts and once again please help if you can 💚 Thank you! #nativetiktok #native #vintagefinds #indigenous #fyp #indigenoustiktok #thriftfinds

♬ original sound – Glass Onion Vintage

What a thrilling discovery! We hope Alice and her team can track down the right place for this beautiful and historic find.

You can find the source of this article’s featured image here.

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