A passion for drawing and a deathly milk allergy played a role in the creation of Brandon Reiersons design line, Lactose Intoler-Art. His work will be featured in a special show Saturday at Cafe Oasis.
Growing up in Stratford, Okla., Reierson was read childrens books with vivid illustrations. He then used markers and copy paper to create illustrations of his own.
Art has always been a comfortable and enjoyable part of my life, he said.
Before his first trip to Tokyo in 2008, he developed an interest in Japanese fashion. Reierson learned that in Japan, fashion is focused on creative expression.
If someone is into a specific hobby there, they can express it into the way they dress, he said. The Japanese tend to use what they have, not wasting things, even in fashion. So you see personal style that mixes using the best of the past and the present.
This interest emerged through his graphic art.
He always loved drawing people, but even more so those posed in unique or avant-garde clothing, as if they were being photographed on the streets of Tokyo. Unbeknown to Reierson, his art actually would become the focus of many fashion street shoots.
Japanese magazines and fashion websites like Fruits, Droptokyo and Rid Snap have featured snapshots of residents wearing his designs on tote bags and necklaces. Reierson himself has been featured in a photo shoot for Popeye, a mens fashion magazine, alongside European models.
His most exciting modeling experience, however, came last fall when he was asked to walk the Tokyo Fashion Week runway in a brand called Discovered.
It was surreal, he said. I felt like a country bumpkin stomping through Tokyo. It was a huge, crazy, hilarious blessing and experience.
Since his first trip, Reierson has returned to Japan five times, the most recent visit being three months last year to volunteer with a Tokyo-based earthquake and tsunami relief organization.