First Nation designer in Saskatchewan set to take on London Fashion Week

Larissa Burnouf
APTN National News
A young Saskatoon woman’s original clothing designs have caught the eye of some of the best in the business.

And Helen Oro is heading to London Fashion Week next month to showcase her Indigenous creations to the fashion world.

Specializing in designing fashion accessories, Oro has already had her work featured on the world’s most famous runways.

“I’ll take traditional beadwork that is normally done and worn with regalia and do a more modern take to it so things that are different- beaded masks, statement pieces, nose chains, of course the sunglasses and then my clothing line…the t-shirts that I have just launched,” said Oro. “So all my new stuff that I’m just experimenting with are going to be showcased at this show.”

She said there was a time when fashion, glitter, and glam were far from her radar.

In her teens, Oro struggled with alcohol and other dangerous lifestyle choices that landed her in some bad places.

“I’ve been in a lot of crazy situations and even just being alive today is…like I’ve escaped so many near death situations where I could have got seriously hurt or something bad could have happened to me and never once in my life have I ever I thought I would be doing what I’m doing now or going to the places that I’ve been going to.”

It was after she had her children, which Oro said completely changed her life and inspired her to get her life together. That included reconnecting with her culture.

“With experimenting and trying new things and seeing do it yourself tutorials on Youtube, I taught myself how to bead. I made medallions, beaded sunglasses which led to beaded heels, bowties, clutch purses and other accessories.”

In addition to London, she’s been accepted into one of the most sought after fashion accessory programs in the world.

The Accessories Master Accelerator Program sees tens of thousands of applicants each year and Oro claimed one of only 200 spots.

“I get mentored by the industry’s top experts. I believe Vogue Italia’s chief in editor is one of our mentors and coaches. They get your business, your product, what you do to the mainstream fashion world-they help you take it to the next level. They introduce you to investors, people who are interested in buying your product, what you do and they really just build your brand.”

Oro’s models and collection will hit London Fashion Week runways on February 19.

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