Manitoba First Nation designer creates bling for Juno nominee

Local jewelry designer, Trip Charbs, made a beaded necklace and earrings for singer Crystal Shawanda to wear at the Juno Awards.

Country singer Crystal Shawanda is set to wear beaded jewelry designed by a Winnipegger at the Junos

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      Local designer, Trip Charbs says he can't wait to see his jewellry on the red carpet at this weekend's Juno Awards.  

      Country singer and Juno nominee Crystal Shawanda will be wearing his designs during the award show.

      "It's honouring that she's wearing them," says Charbs.

      Shawanda is nominated in the Aboriginal Album of the year category, which she won in 2013.

      The 27-year-old says he gained the confidence to offer the singer his designs after he saw how popular beaded jewelry was at the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards in Winnipeg.

      Charbs, who is from the Pine Creek First Nation says he wants to take a piece of his culture into mainstream fashion.

      "If people see the beadwork and are not a part of our culture, it's going to spark curiosity," says Charbs.

      Asanna Strowbridge models the jewellry Juno Nominee Crystal Shawanda will wear this weekend at the award show. (Tyson Anderson)
      He wants people to ask questions about indigenous culture. He hopes his jewelry will act as a bridge between indigenous people and the rest of society to help break down stereotypes.

      Charbs plans on opening a boutique this year in Winnipeg, which will feature young designers. 

      "I'm going for a high fashion indigenous boutique," says Charbs. "It will showcase the youth and show them that you can do it if you put your mind to it."

      Young indigenous professionals

      Charbs arranged a photo shoot to celebrate his first big accomplishment as a designer.

      Photographer Tyson Anderson arranged a portfolio shoot so Charbs can show off his work.

      Anderson rounded up an all indigenous crew to make it happen.

      "It feels amazing to be associated with such talented individuals," says the 22-year-old. "We are collaborating for the bigger picture."

      Which is, combating negative perceptions about indigenous people.

      Anderson says he chose to move to Winnipeg from Churchill to pursue photography. He says he loves the city and hates that it was recently labelled as the most racist in Canada.

      "I think it's really unfortunate that the younger generation is just disregarded," says Anderson. "People will say these rude things without taking into consideration that there is this whole generation who is up and coming, who is ambitious, who has talent and is equal to mainstream society."

      Everyone in the photo shoot crew is in their 20s. Anderson says he wants to inspire other indigenous youth to follow their dreams.

      He also wants society to see that indigenous people are just like everyone else.

      About the Author

      Jillian Taylor

      CBC Reporter

      Jillian Taylor has been with CBC Manitoba since 2012 and has been reporting for a decade. She was born and raised in Manitoba and is a member of the Fisher River Cree Nation. In 2014, she was awarded the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association's travel bursary, which took her to Australia to work with Indigenous journalists. Find her on Twitter: @JillianLTaylor