Montana Made: Dreams come true as Montana designer aims for Paris Fashion Week

BROWNING – Belinda Bullshoe is believed to the first-ever Native American designer to have her dresses shown during New York’s Fashion Week.

Now, she’s got her sights set on the City of Lights. The designer is preparing her Montana made dresses for the cream of the crop in the fashion world.

Bullshoe is shopping for fabric for her next line of dresses, which she’ll showcase at Fashion Week in Paris.

“I can’t even tell you how what feeling I’m feeling,” said Bullshoe. “I thought New York was big, but Paris is just beyond.”

She may not know the feeling, but Belinda knows dress-making.

The designer already knows what she’s going to do with the materials. And these fabrics aren’t couture – she gets them right here in the Treasure State at Jo-Ann Fabrics.

“It’s not real high-priced material but their material, I feel, is just as good,” said Bullshoe.

Belinda is truly Montana made. Her grandmother taught her how to sew.

“She told us ‘you know, you guys better watch my sewing, how I sew because one day I’m not going to be here,’” said Bullshoe. “Well after that I started watching her.”

Unlike many of the designers she’ll see in Paris, Belinda doesn’t have a fashion degree.

“If someone was to ask me to draw a design I’d probably be drawing them some stick men,” said Bullshoe.

But she’s proud that her dress-making education and passion for fashion didn’t come from a book.

“I can’t get any better of a teacher than my own grandmother,” said Bullshoe. “My classroom was watching her at home and seeing how she sewed. So when people ask me if there’s a degree paper, my degree paper is through my dresses.”

Her grandmother passed away in 2009, so it was a special day when her dresses were shown in The Big Apple.

“The day I opened up the fashion show in New York was her birthday,” said Bullshoe. “It was really emotional not only to see my clothing line getting to go on the runway, it was because if it wasn’t for my grandma, I wouldn’t be there.”

Bullshoe said it’s difficult sometimes, being a small-town girl from Browning, home of the Blackfeet Reservation.

“I want to get to the clique of the fashion world but I still want to be in my own belief,” said Bullshoe.

So she stays modest in presentation but sophisticated in design. And that’s because she believes in showcasing her heritage every step of the way.

“Not only to represent myself, my family, but represent the Blackfeet Blood Tribe, and the state of Montana,” said Bullshoe. “Dreams come true. A lot of patience. I always tell people never give up your dreams.”

Even when those dreams are as big as the Big Sky.

The Oxford Fashion Show, which Belinda has been invited to, is Sept. 28 in Paris.

MTN’s Julianne Dellorso