As a Metis (people who share European and Native ancestry) man, Sean McCormick grew up wearing mukluks – northern Canadian style moccasin boots that combine European and Native materials and decorative techniques. Mukluks developed as a traditional style of footwear amongst the Metis of northern Manitoba soon after the territory became a province in 1870.
When McCormick was still in high school in 1987 he began supplying Native artisans with materials, and by 1990 had started a mukluk making cooperative. The company he began, Manitobah Mukluks, grew steadily and became one of the fastest growing companies in Canada between 2008 and 2013. When celebrities like Megan Fox and Kate Moss were photographed wearing Manitobah Mukluks, sales skyrocketed.
The boots are being carried by high end retailers like Holt Renfrew and Nordstrom’s, and profits from the company are used to ensure traditional Native skills are passed on to younger generations, as well as educational bursaries for Native and Metis people.