Tag Archives: Buf Reynolds

Buf Reynolds

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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Dystopian Dreams

November 19, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

model | Angela Balderston
clothing | Buf Reynolds
hair | Sarah Root, Victor Victoria
makeup | Chevy Kozisek, Victor Victoria
location | Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
stylist | Nicholas Wasserberger

Special thanks to Alex Priest of Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and Audio Helkuik.

 

Design is My Therapy

August 19, 2013 by
Photography by John Gawley

The past few years have collectively been similar to stepping on a land mine. It felt like I had been torn to bits. I couldn’t see through the smoke. When it started to clear, I grabbed all my pieces and rebuilt.

Slowly, memories started to hurt less and life started moving forward. The memories are still there, but they are fading. The details aren’t quite as clear. They are slowly becoming more black and white. I hand-dyed each dress to make it appear as though the color is escaping, leaving only the black and white in the dresses. They are walking memories. They are beautiful and will always be a part of me.


Making them was a challenge, but I gladly accept those challenges. I tend to take on extra projects, both for fun and work. Recently, I made a dress that pays homage to Omaha, showing the city’s skyline looking westward. I am currently creating two very different lines for 2013, as well as a wedding dress for one of my former models.


For OFW, I have designed a very wearable collection of women’s clothing and a very avant-garde collection, including metal pieces as a base for my dresses. For the avant-garde show, I have partnered with Dan Richters to present Vessel, an other-worldly fashion experience. Dan and I both create our designs because they are part of who we are.The design comes through in whatever medium we are working with. Our collections have pushed our abilities. We do it because we love it. Vessel is decidedly darker than any of the other Omaha Fashion Week shows. Dan and I are transforming the entire atmosphere from the moment you enter until the end of the show to transport and take you beyond your standard fashion show experience.

Each of these shows displays my abilities and proves my versatility as a designer, which has become increasingly important to me. Keep following…who knows what will come next!

Omaha Fashion Week takes place August 19-24. Tickets range from $30-70; Saturday Finale VIP tables (for 10) can be reserved for $1,000. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit omahafashionweek.com.

For more information about Buf Reynolds’ collections, visit vesselofw.com or bufreynolds.com.

Style and Substance

June 20, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

When Nick Hudson first helped found Omaha Fashion Week (OFW) back in 2008, he says some people thought it was a bit of a joke. Six years later, no one’s laughing. During the first year, about 2,000 people attended the event to see creations by 12 designers; by the end of this year, 51 designers will have shown their work, with an estimated 8,000 people attending—and the event just keeps getting bigger and better.

Unlike fashion weeks in New York, London, and Paris, OFW isn’t just about all things sartorial. It serves as a platform for up-and-coming designers to learn about the fashion industry and introduce their creations to the public, all without having to pay a fee to participate. “A lot of designers come from wealthy backgrounds,” says Hudson. “[Making it in this industry] requires resources. The vast majority of our designers, though, come from limited means and challenging economic backgrounds. [With OFW], there’s no financial barrier.”

To this end, Hudson founded the Fashion Institute Midwest, a program that helps designers learn about all aspects of the fashion industry from developing their lines to getting them to the public. Designers apply online, specifying what they’d like to focus on and what they hope to get out of the program. Some want to enhance their opportunities for getting into top design schools; others hope to build their businesses.

Designer Joi Katskee upcycles items into new rock-n-roll pieces.

Designer Joi Katskee upcycles items into new rock-n-roll pieces.

Typically, 70-90 designers apply annually with 40-50 making the cut. The designers are all from the Midwest, coming from states like Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri. Ages range from as young as 13 to those in their early 30s. A selection panel consisting of nine fashion industry experts interviews the applicants. “Mainly, people audition to be a part of the show,” Hudson explains. Brook Hudson (Nick’s wife), who manages OFW’s day-to-day operations, adds, “The cool thing about the interviews is that the panel doesn’t just decide. We give the designers feedback on how to sharpen their focus and ideas. It’s a conversation.”

From there, designers work with OFW’s team of volunteer mentors to learn about the fashion industry. They receive expert advice on subjects such as where to get fabric, how best to show off designs, and how to pitch and promote their lines. They also participate in workshops or roundtable discussions focusing on topics like doing consumer research and how to broaden their appeal for retail markets. This forms the core of the program. “What people don’t realize,” Hudson points out, “is that there is constant mentoring and support taking place throughout the year behind the scenes.”

Rick Carey and David Scott (“The Style Guys”), Omaha fashion stylists and hair and makeup legends who have worked at fashion shows in New York, Paris, and Miami and at international photo shoots, became involved as panelists and designer mentors this past February. “The mentoring program is amazing. We help the designers get their collections together so [they] look fantastic,” explains Carey. “As Tim Gunn of Project Runway fame says, our job is to help the designers ‘make it work.’”

Designer Elda Doamekpo’s Elle brand is inspired by the movement of water.

Designer Elda Doamekpo’s Elle brand is inspired by the movement of water.

Scott adds, “From those original sketches on a piece of paper, no one realizes where designers go from there. You have to find the perfect seamstress who can sew that perfect zipper or perfect hook, someone who knows how to work with a specific type of fabric. We’re very much into the total look.”

Another critical component is finding the perfect models to showcase the collections. Alyssa Dilts, director of Develop Model Management, does the casting calls for OFW and works with designers to select models. “I compile the list, and the designers have a week to select [their models],” says Dilts, who has done some professional modeling herself. “I then finagle the schedule for them to coordinate and make sure the models are available.”

Equally important are all the other volunteers who make OFW possible. “The public has no clue about what’s involved,” says Scott. “They really don’t realize how many people it takes to put it on.”

Designer Hollie Hanash designs upscale children’s clothes.

Designer Hollie Hanash designs upscale children’s clothes.

Indeed, volunteers do everything from setting up and tearing down the catwalks, marketing the event, distributing press passes and VIP bags, coordinating the action backstage, and greeting and seating guests. Makeup artists and hairstylists similarly volunteer their time and talent. “We’ve got a great community of people involved who all donate their time and expertise,” says Hudson. “It’s unheard of. It’s a huge part of why we’ve been able to grow so fast. That’s why we’re able to keep building…Because of the community.”

What’s new and exciting for OFW this August? The six-night event will take place downtown in the Capitol District (10th & Capitol streets area) in a 30,000-square-foot space composed of one tent flanked by two smaller ones and after-party courtyards featuring DJs and live bands. Designers/artists Dan Richters and Buf Reynolds are collaborating to create a large-scale art installation through which people will enter the event. “It’s the first time we’re doing it. We’re graduating to a different level,” notes Hudson.

Given all this, it’s no wonder that in just six years, OFW has emerged as one of the top fashion weeks in the Midwest, one that attracts experts and designers from around the country. “It’s more than an event,” Brook proudly points out. “We’re on the verge of creating a new industry for Omaha.

Omaha Fashion Week takes place August 19-24. Tickets range from $30-70; Saturday Finale VIP tables (for 10) can be reserved for $1,000. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit omahafashionweek.com.

OFW SCHEDULE

Monday 8/19: Children’s Wear
Tuesday 8/20: Avant-Garde
Wednesday 8/21: Ready To Wear
Thursday 8/22: Evening Wear
Friday 8/23: Men’s & Swimwear
Saturday 8/24: Grand Finale Gala