Meet this Winter’s Trend: Seal Skin Cuffs

Gen Z’s have their scrunchies. For the rest us, try seal skin cuffs out for size.

We get it—a real fur coat isn’t in everyone’s budget. But as a way to add some flare and texture to your look, try a seal skin cuff out for size.

While seal skin still hasn’t become mainstream throughout all of Canada, you can take a page from several Inuit celebrities who have donned the grey and white fur to red carpets and music awards. Just look to Shina Nova and Tiffany Tagaq who helped boost one Metis designer’s name.

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Tagaq has donned the cuffs many times throughout her career, but it was back in 2015, that designer Cheryl Fennell, of Snowfly, started receiving phone calls from clients across the country. Her phone rang off the hook as people called, seeking a pair of cuffs similar to the ones Tagaq wore at the Polaris Music Prize gala in Toronto.

While Fennell previously told CBC about the difficulties of sewing with seal skin because of the material’s slippery feel, it has been well worth it, since her handmade snap cuffs are continuously reaching new heights of fame. Since 2015, Fennell has sold thousands of her bracelets which are available on Proudly Indigenous Crafts & Designs.

“I think [Tagaq] was really expressing that this is her life and this is her history,” Fennell told CBC. The singer had encouraged people to wear more seal skin as she flaunted her cuffs. “She is a very, very creative and unique person. It was wonderful and she did it because she was really trying to get a message about the importance of seal to aboriginal people.”

Tagaq has worn her seal skin cuffs with a number of different outfits, but often opts to pair them with strapless or sleeveless gowns. She keeps her jewellery simple otherwise—from the time she paired one grey seal skin cuff with a bold black and white striped A-line gown to pairing two cuffs with a fitted red gown with a plunging neckline. Her outfits are always eye catching on stage and Tagaq has said she hopes people will take notice of the traditional twist she incorporates into her style.

“I’m hoping sealskin will become posh, that people will see it the way they see leather,” she told Toronto Life in 2018.

Tagaq has the right idea. These cuffs can be worn like any other accent piece of jewelry.


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A post shared by Tanya Tagaq (@tanyatagaq)

How to wear it

The beauty about seal skin is you can dress it up or down. You can wear cuffs with jeans and a T-shirt or a formal gown; an all-black outfit or something vibrant and eclectic. You can treat it the way you would a simple watch or any bold piece of jewelry. There’s plenty of leeway with this accessory while it can also serve a functional purpose. Fennell says some people have worn her bracelets under their coats to keep the wind out of their sleeves. Plus, they are not specific to any gender.

“I like my design because it is simple to put on… and can be used with anything,” says Fennell. “I would love to challenge people to wear them with all kinds of clothes.”

If you have a cuff in its natural grey colour, then the neutral tone allows you to pair it with just about any colour (though perhaps be careful when mixing brown and grey, as it can sometimes look washed out).

Speaking of colours, unless you’re wearing all black, chances are you’ve got a few pops of colour mixed in with your outfit. If you’re going with a dyed cuff, you can match that colour to the accents in your outfit. Or simply match the black spots seen in a natural seal skin hide to hints of black within your outfit.


Wearing with other jewelry

When it comes to matching jewelry to your seal skin, we recommend something on the simpler side so as not to clash with the fur. But if you do want a bold look all around, what matches better with seal skin than… more seal skin? Inuk 360 has that covered. The designer, who goes by the name Inuk, makes snap cuffs in a variety of colours, from simple black, grey and brown to navy blue, red and hot pink. She sells earring and cuff sets that are made to order, so you can get tufted bracelets alongside dangling earrings in the same fur and shade. Each set is made with Musk Ox leather and Arctic seal pelts, while the six-inch earrings hang from sterling silver hooks. Plus, many of her designs are embellished with beaded edges that can be matched with earrings.

Inuk 360 handmade creations are available on our online store:

Inuk360 1" Adjustable Dyed Pink Seal Fur Cuff

Like Fennel, Inuk says seal skin cuffs can be worn with just about anything from casual to formal styles. Her only advice is, “you wear your seal. Don’t let your seal wear you.”

She adds that she has seen her bracelets stacked with other cuffs as well as silver and gold jewelry—it’s all about the wearer, she says.


Our Favourite Seal Skin Looks

If you’re still unsure about how to wear seal skin cuffs, here are some of our favourite designs and looks.


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Une publication partagée par Beaded Dreams (@beadeddreamsca)

We love the look of adding some beading to each piece, meaning you can match a cuff with similar earrings, or match it with a pair of purely beaded earrings.


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Une publication partagée par Santee Siouxx (@santeesiouxx)

The accessory match up doesn’t have to stop with earrings. There are so many cute accessories from bags, heels to necklaces and so on.


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Une publication partagée par Tiffany Ayalik (@ayaliktiffany)

Take a page from throatsinger Tiffany Ayalik, who can often be seen donning a seal skin skirt and even seal skin heels. This look would definitely suit a cuff or two.

And we love the way Ottawa designer Oolootie has combined silver and gold jewelry with seal skin.

What’s your favourite look?