THE HUDSONS’ BAY BLANKET COAT

THE HUDSONS’ BAY BLANKET COAT

hudsons bay blanket

A STRIPE RUNS THROUGH IT…

Standing on the Toronto subway platform during the winter,
a sea of dark coats.
What if they were in colours and/or striped, to lighten these dark days of winter?

An article from VOGUE was my leaping off point…

“THE AMERICAN WAY”
American Vogue January 2013

“Denim-which runs like a blue thread through our fashion history- returns on a sweeping scale…”

This rang bells, the pant invented for the miners of the 1800’s gold rush, the coat from the 1700’s fur boom…

Follow my path:

denim – de nim – de nime – of nime – nime, france – cloth made in the city of Nime, France

jean – gen – genoa – a pant from Genoa, Italy

Put them together under the auspices of one Mr Levi Strauss, add a handful of copper rivets, get your patent in before your competitor, and 100+ years later, a pant designed for function, worn by miners. Now recognized in American Vogue, the jean and its fabric, thought of as American originals, and worn the world over as fashion!

So, following a similar path:
a striped blanket given in trade for beaver skins
a blanket of British origin,
the seals trapped and their skins tanned by the Aboriginal,
who wrapped the blanket for warmth (as they did with animal skins).
And in combination with the British and the French settlers,
cut the blanket for easier wearablity and made it into a wrapped version of the European cloth coat, “THE CAPOTE”.

INDIAN WIGWAM IN LOWER CANADA 1848 CORNELIUS KRIEGHOFF

INDIAN WIGWAM IN LOWER CANADA 1848 CORNELIUS KRIEGHOFF


Indian_Wigwam_in_Lower_Canada_(1848_)_Cornelius_Krieghoff.jpg

And today known “THE HUDSON’S BAY COMPANY BLANKET COAT”
Like Mr Strauss’ “jean” it has stood the test of time.
It’s green, red, yellow and black stripes running through our “CANADIAN FASHION HISTORY”.
Historians and fashion writers have pointed it out.
The Hudson’s Bay Company has worked with Canadian designers in many years to update it, and they still sell, although primarily to tourists I am thinking, as they are quite absent on the subway platform.

Designers from other countries have borrowed it’s cut and fabric and put them on the catwalk.

JOHN BARTLET NYC 2010

JOHN BARTLET NYC 2010

So don’t let another winter go by in the dark…
See them and recognize them not only as “OUR OWN: HERITAGE GARMENTS” but fashion, and use the cloth and the stripes and make a myriad of practical products into fashion, and wear them here in Canada as well as abroad!

OPEN THOSE EYES FOLKS, STAND UP PROUDLY, AND SAY IT’S “CANADIAN”!

For a more detailed history, let me point you in the direction of:

Jonathon Walford’s Blog
http://kickshawproductions.com/blog/?p=479

and to see just what else those stripes can colour,

Wendy Morris on “Pinterest”

and for a complete overview of all the above, the company responsible for the blanket…

The Hudson’s Bay Company
http://www.hbcheritage.ca/hbcheritage/history/blanket/outerwear/

Coming in the next blog, more “Canadian” coats to light up the subway platform…

ORIGINALLY POSTED SATURDAY FEB 02, 2013

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