Looking good, eh? Fashion museum showcases the best of Canadian style

As part of the country's 150th anniversary celebrations, the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge is showcasing Canadian couture all this year with a new exhibit called Fashioning Canada Since 1867.

Exhibit shows it all, from Mukluks to the 'Canadian tuxedo'

Fans of the Ottawa Redblacks bundled up in Canadian style. (Kevin Light)

In our short 150 years, Canada has made some bold contributions to the world of fashion. 

Consider the "Canadian tuxedo" – denim from the ankles up – or the classic lumberjack plaid jacket, paired with a matching cap. 

The Fashion History Museum in Cambridge is showcasing the best of Canadian couture all year with the exhibit Fashioning Canada Since 1867, part of the country's 150th anniversary celebrations. 

"It's dealing with what people, no matter where you are in the world, would look at and say: 'I think that's Canadian,'" Jonathan Walford, the museum's curatorial director, told Craig Norris, host of The Morning Edition on CBC Radio. 

The exhibit explores the "quintessential Canadian look," the Canadian fashion industry from the 1860's to the 1960's, as well as the work of notable Canadian designers like Brian Bailey, Marilyn Brooks and Rose Marie Reid.
Mackage is known as one of North America's most prestigious contemporary outerwear brands. (George Pimmentel/Getty Images)

From mukluks to hat tricks

It features some little known moments in Canada's fashion history as well, like the fabled roots of hockey's "hat trick," often credited to a business-savvy Toronto hatter named Sammy Taft; or the time the great crooner Bing Crosby was snubbed by a Canadian hotelier, who didn't recognize him in Canada's namesake double denim "tuxedo." 

Fashioning Canada highlights some of the many contributions to Canadian fashion created by Indigenous people as well, including the mukluk and the Cowichan sweater. 

Though the exhibit explores Canada's varied regional styles, Walford says, the rest of the world probably still knows us best for our winterwear. 

"We do winter well," he said. 

Fashioning Canada since 1867 is on display at the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge until December 17. 


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?