As a Metis (people who share European and Native ancestry) man, Sean McCormick grew up wearing mukluks – a northern Canadian style of 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.
Manitobah Mukluks began in 1990 when the 23 year old Sean McCormick began trading hides for artist-made mukluks and moccasins. In 1997 he registered the business and began manufacturing traditional mukluks in a co-op business model. The company 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.