A version of this post was originally published on the Manitoba Hot blog.
Winnipeg is home to a creative and vibrant design scene, and that includes fashion. Local brands have started making their mark on the global fashion scene, and stylish people everywhere are taking notice. Here are a few Winnipeg fashion brands to check out:
When walking into this store situated in the hip Exchange District, it’s not uncommon to have the man behind the clothes himself as your fashion guide. His iconic ‘holster worn as a man bag’ is the back drop to Lennard Taylor’s architecturally cut coats and feminine drapey shirts. These items are expertly and lovingly crafted by Taylor right in his shop and his catch phrase is: “If it’s not comfortable, it’s not worth wearing.” Entirely self-taught, Taylor offers a double creative whammy, also working as a painter who exhibits his works throughout the city.
Woven into Winnipeg’s garment making past is Crown Cap, an apparel company started in 1943 as a manufacturer of functional, wool, cloth, and corduroy hats for the prairie agricultural industry. In 1987, the company was sold and reimaged elevating their signature aviator flap hats and duckbill caps with fur, leather, and bright primary colours. Today the hats are sold to the well-heeled customers of retailers like Barney’s, Saks, Begrdorf’s, Nordstrom, Hudson’s Bay, and Holt Renfrew, as well as indie fashion shops. Insider tip: come the second half of November to partake in their highly-anticipated annual sample sale.
Traditional Indigenous moccasins and mukluks get an urban take with Manitobah Mukluk, a Winnipeg-based company started 15 years ago by Indigenous brother and sister Sean and Heather McCormick. While authentic craftsmanship and the cultural significance of the leather, fur and beaded footwear remains central to the ethos of the brand, the company has moved the footwear into an international spotlight. Manitobah Mukluks have been spotted on the likes of Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford and Beyoncé, and have even been featured in French Vogue. Even with these credentials, the boots and shoes are designed with Manitoba winters in mind and in keeping with traditional craftsmanship methods.
Modern Supply Co
Modern Supply Co, a lifestyle and fashion boutique, occupies a back room in craft coffee spot Thom Bargen in downtown Winnipeg. The shop sells an Instagram worthy collection of ethically sourced, small batch, vintage, and handmade fashion, textiles, jewellery, house wares, cult beauty products, and stylish accessories. Pick up items like Turkish pestemals, hand-woven pillows, and cotton underwear imported from Belgium. It’s also where Winnipeggers clamour for first pick of local designer Rachel Jones printed summer dresses and to-die-for kimonos.
Commonwealth, started in 2015, focuses on small-batch, ethically-made men’s shirts. Started by Andrew Doerksen after he had trouble finding well-fitting menswear, his hobby spun out in a local fashion brand. Taking on the task of learning everything himself from operating the high-end machinery of apparel making to sourcing organic cotton from growers in India, there are no corners cut here. Eschewing fast fashion, items are lovingly created and sold out of the shared retail space he inhabits in Winnipeg’s Exchange District that is home to other trendy local designers Wilder Goods and Old Hat. The shirts are also sold online and local coffee shop, Forth.