Manitoba Metis beader heads to Paris Fashion Week
When she started beading full-time during the pandemic, Winnipegger Jessie Pruden never thought her earring designs would make it to Paris Fashion Week.
Pruden, who is Métis with roots in Stony Plain, Manitoba, taught herself to bead less than two years ago after a knee injury forced her to give up her career in the beading industry. Restoration.
Now she runs her Bead n’ Butter business online. Her work caught the eye of New York-based fashion retailer Flying Solo and they offered her a place to attend the week-long France event in Paris from February 28 to March 8.
“To take my little, small business that started in my living room to Paris is really intense and really amazing,” Pruden said.
“I’m really grateful to have this opportunity.”
Pruden started 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 to take her place.
Elizabeth Solomeina, managing director of Flying Solo and executive producer of their fashion shows, said Pruden’s work was discovered by the store’s scouting team.
“What we’re looking for is a unique point of view, something we’ve never seen before on the market, something that will definitely stand out on the walking model,” Solomeina said.
“We noticed right away that there was a lot of love and work in every piece.”
Pruden identifies as gay, mixed-race, and recently disabled after her injury. She said it’s important to her to portray these aspects of her identity, but it’s still a surprise that she gets the chance to do so on such a grand scale.
“It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions,” Pruden said.
“It doesn’t feel real yet. It feels like a really weird dream right now.”
Pruden works alongside his brother Noel Pruden and a small group of friends who help with beading, packing orders and managing finances. Most of them will join her on the trip to Paris, including her brother.
“I never would have seen myself doing this kind of work,” he said.
“It’s quite unexpected that I’m like a jeweler and sometimes a designer now.”
Noel also quit his job as a restaurant cook during the pandemic and started helping out his sister. She taught him how to bead when his online business started to take off.
Pruden said they were working on 20 pairs of earrings for designers to choose from, and were guaranteed to have eight pairs in the show.
They have raised funds through raffle sales and donations for their deposit to go into the show, and hope to raise enough to fund the rest of the trip.