Stars align for Pelican Lake designer invited to L.A.

By Derek Cornet
January 8, 2018 - 5:06pm

Saskatoon-based designer is headed to Los Angeles next month to showcase her work at a prestigious event.

Helen Oro, of Helen Oro Designs, was invited to the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend Fashion Showcase scheduled for Feb. 16. She said it's a private show including a variety of designers from around the world. 

"I believe it's going to be star-studded, so there will be NBA and NFL players who will be in attendance," Oro said. "I'm the only Canadian and Indigenous person showcasing. The models who are coming with me will be the only Indigenous models."

As a member of Pelican Lake First Nation, Oro said she wanted to use aspects of her culture to inspire and educate people through the work she does. Oro mostly creates accessories, but uses her skills with beadwork to make each piece unique. She describes her work as "out of the box," as she said she strives to make items in unconventional ways. 

"I do simple to extravagant, with extravagant being my fully-beaded sunglasses that are very Lady Gaga inspired," Oro said. "I do things that are normally not seen when it comes to beadwork. I was thinking, what can I do to make it stand out and how can I show my culture in a more modern context?"

Oro is no stranger to the spotlight, as she's already showcased her work in cities such as Toronto, London and New York. She also completed a program at the Praxis School of Entrepreneurship in Saskatoon two years ago, but said her company was already established before then.

"Years ago, I really started travelling and showcasing my collections at fashion weeks," Oro said. "In a lot of the cases, I will either see a show or know about it through my network from travelling."


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