When she started beading full-time during the pandemic, Winnipegger Jessie Pruden never thought her earring designs would end up at Paris Fashion Week.
Pruden, who is Métis with roots in Stony Plain, Man., taught herself how to bead less than two years ago after a knee injury forced her to leave her career in the restaurant industry.
Now she runs her business Bead n’ Butter online. Her work attracted the attention of New York-based fashion retailer Flying Solo and they offered her a spot to attend the week-long event in France Paris Feb. 28 to March 8.
“Taking my little, small business that started in my living room to Paris feels really intense and really amazing,” Pruden said.
“I’m really grateful to have this opportunity.”
Pruden began working with the fashion retailer less than two months ago. She was working on a collection to feature in their store when another designer dropped out of fashion week and she was asked her to take their place.
Elizabeth Solomeina, managing director at Flying Solo, and executive producer for their fashion shows, said Pruden’s work was discovered by the store’s scouting team.
“What we look for is a unique point of view, something that we haven’t seen before on the market, something that will definitely stand out on the model walking,” said Solomeina.
“We definitely noticed right away there’s a lot of love and work that goes into every single piece.”
Pruden identifies as queer, Métis and recently disabled after her injury. She said it’s important for her to represent those aspects of her identity, but it’s still a surprise that she has the chance to on such a large scale.
“It’s just been a roller coaster of emotions,” said Pruden.
“It doesn’t feel real still. It feels like a really weird dream at the moment.”
Pruden works alongside her brother Noël Pruden and a small group of friends who help bead, package orders and manage finances. Most of them will be joining her on the trip to Paris, her brother included.
“I would’ve never seen myself doing this kind of work,” he said.
“It’s pretty unexpected that I’m like a jewelry maker and sometimes-designer now.”
Noël also left his job as a cook in the restaurant industry during the pandemic and started helping his sister. She taught him to bead when her online business started taking off.
Pruden said they are working on 20 pairs of earrings for designers to choose from, and they are guaranteed to have eight pairs in the show.
They have raised money through raffle sales and donations for their deposit to be in the show, and hope to raise enough to fund the rest of the trip.