November 24, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Her work is simultaneously bold and classic. At times she comes across as a formidable force; other times she’s as approachable as an old friend, signing her emails “Luf, Buf.” Buf Reynolds is equal parts daring and down-to-earth. She is friendly Midwestern charm meets big-city vision.

Reynolds has become a fixture of Omaha’s design scene in recent years, helping grow Omaha Fashion Week as one of its most prominent designers and as a key part of its organizational team. Her summer 2015 collection was arguably her best yet, showcasing models swathed in fabric printed with NASA images, carrying plasma globes, hair wet and delicate.

“They looked like they were just birthed from the universe,” she gushes. It’s clear she enjoys pushing the envelope.

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The collection’s spacey aesthetic drew upon the idea of micro and macrocosms, inspiring a sense of reflection about our place in the natural world. When asked how she hopes people might respond to the theme, she becomes contemplative: “You know, we’re limited as to what we can do, so you’ve got to be decent to other humans.”

Though her work certainly speaks to philosophical themes, Reynolds does not over-intellectualize what she does. Her excitement about fashion appears rooted in a simple, unpretentious joy. She respects the creative process as one of unpredictability, but pairs this spontaneity with a well-honed craft that allows her to produce elegant, wearable pieces. Her most recent line is a testament to this as it synthesizes an ‘out-there’ concept with timeless and accessible beauty.

She is quick to speak on her perspective of the state of the arts in Omaha: “It’s a challenge.” She points out that while Omaha’s cost of living allows artists more flexibility, it limits their opportunities to make a living from their crafts alone.

Still, she is hopeful. She says the design scene is evolving, attributing much of the positive change to groups like Fashion Institute Midwest and Omaha Fashion Week who invest heavily in new artists, offering them the community and resources they need to get started. “It’s really inspiring to have those people around. It’s come a long way.”

Looking to the future, she again displays zeal when talking Omaha Fashion Week plans. The next set of runway shows will be held March 15 and 20, 2016. As for her own personal plans, she says she’s becoming open to a few things she didn’t previously consider: shows outside of Omaha, production, and hiring a team of seamstresses.

“It’s a high that you don’t really get anywhere else. I wanna do more.” While it’s true that we’re all limited in our reach, it seems clear that Reynolds’ reach is only growing, and we can expect her to continue expanding Omaha’s horizons for some time to come.

Visit bufreynolds.com to learn more

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