Wear Our Heritage was chosen as our name because we want to encourage Canadians to wear natural fur, part of the heritage of this country.
Wear Our Heritage apparel and accessories are all hand made by Sheila Schmutz in her home studio outside of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She uses fur from wild Canadian species in support of northern peoples who still depend on fur as a major source of income. The fur is professionally tanned to garment level so that the drape is suitable for collars and hat trim – an important consideration around the face. Whenever possible, the fur is purchased through a special program for Indigenous youth trappers through International Fur Dressers and Dyers in Winnipeg.
For the fall/winter collection, Sheila tries to source a variety of high wool content fabrics, usually 80% or more wool. Because very little, if any, wool fabric is made in Canada, these are often made abroad. However, she purchases all her fabric from Canadian distributors. Most hats are lined with “kasha” which is a cotton flannel backed satin. Occasionally silk is used for lining. Collars usually have a synthetic suede undersurface to prevent movement and slippage when worn. Silk fabrics are used for most of the spring collection.
Each item is individually made and alternate sizes or colors are rarely available. Each fur has different coloration depending on the habitat, diet and age of the animal. Custom orders are therefore not taken. Each item comes with a detailed hangtag that provides fibre content, fur type, and care instructions.
As part of the Saskatoon Fashion and Design Festival 2017, Sheila was interviewed by Janella Hamilton in a spot on CTV Morning Live. She is shown at the left with the two lovely models that appeared.