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This is a letter from Marie-Thérèse, the daughter and sister of an Onion Johnny. She expresses how it felt to have a fashion collection made on her people’s story, or how she describes it “we, the exotic French tribe”.

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“Yes, I am a product of the onions, conceived in Perth (Scotland) in the onions, born in Roscoff (Brittany – France) in a ploughman/johnny’s house, on September 15th, and I went to school to be educated thanks to onions money…

On Heritage Day, Anna came to Roscoff and my house – open to the public on that day – and said: “I make fashion collections from different tribes stories, from their traditional wear, their songs… I made collections in Brazil, in Vietnam, Thailand. I would like to make one on the Johnnies’ story.”

So let’s go with the exotic French tribe then!

All winter we exchanged via internet between France and Thailand; historical facts, photographs, the identification of the different Johnnies by their nicknames, the original places, the locations in Great-Britain, the dates… all was done.

We’ve loved Anna’s collection, she’s managed to get inspiration from the past, she’s enriched it, achieving to adapt for the most of it menswear, for contemporary women’s fashion.

The iconography: small bicycles, onions, nicknames, make the clothes joyful and… moving – when we recognized the name of one of our loved ones on his site in Great-Britain. We were travelling with him…”

Marie-Thérèse Chapalain
with Tud Ar Johnniged (The world of the Johnnies)





  1. I have learnt something today; as a little boy, we read a book about a young onion Johnny with a stammer. I never heard the name until today, thank you 😉


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