Retail Spotlight: 49 Dzine

Photo courtesy 49 Dzine

Explore wearable art by Indigenous designers

It all started with a peacoat. “A friend asked my partner to make a coat,” says Nathan Rainy Chief, co-founder and executive director of 49 Dzine. Proud of his creation, Nathan’s partner Michael posted a picture on Facebook, and friends immediately expressed interest. As requests started flowing in, Michael and Nathan realized that there was a gap in the market for fine goods created by Indigenous artisans.

With increased demand, they opened an online store, amassing over 40 thousand followers in 2 years. They sold their wares on the pow wow circuit for a couple years, but experienced exponential growth of their online business due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Michael and Nathan decided to fulfill a life-long dream by opening their first storefront in Calgary, with an Edmonton location following closely behind.

“It’s important for us as Indigenous people to showcase our identity. And what better way to showcase it than through fashion?” Nathan is proud that the store caters to a diverse range of customers. Whether you are investing in a handmade jingle dress or looking for more affordable options, 49 Dzine has got you covered with their extensive product range, which includes ribbon skirts, mukluks, accessories, and so much more. Though depending on where you live, options may vary.

“We always tailor towards the community,” says Nathan. “In Edmonton, we have more floral designs, and that’s based on community standards and what people are interested in.” Interestingly, while florals are defining Edmonton, geometric styles are the most popular at the Calgary location. Customers can choose from over 40 different original prints, all designed by Indigenous artists.

The store also sells other crafting materials like printed ribbon, heat transfer appliques, and jingles for traditional jingle dresses. “It’s always interesting to see what people make,” says store manager Lori. The whole team loves to see Indigenous entrepreneurs growing their own communities and businesses using 49 Dzine products. Their heat transfers have been used to Indigenize everything from jean jackets and hats to graduation dresses—and one design even made it to New York Fashion Week!

Although their Calgary store will be closing in June, 49 Dzine shows no signs of slowing down. The Ledger Collection—their newest series of designs, which references historical documents—has been a runaway success. “We have to honour all the people who came before us, and everything they sacrificed for us to have these opportunities and futures to carry our traditions and cultures forward,” shares Nathan. These pieces offer opportunities to appreciate and highlight Indigenous culture, history, and art through fashion, which is what’s at the heart of everything that 49 Dzine does.

You can visit 49 Dzine at their storefront, 9122–51 Ave., or online at Stay tuned for more in-person events, including he Indigenous Experience exhibition at K-Days 2023. 


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