Dec 21, 2017 11:11AM
By Roger duRand
Roger duRand, 74
I’m a designer, husband, father, and grandfather (and former “fashion guru,” according to the World-Herald).
Although I was born in Colorado, I grew up in Omaha. After I finished school, I traveled extensively in the U.S., performing a variety of jobs from folk singer and fry cook to portrait artist, art teacher, sign-painter, and illustrator, all the while passing through Omaha occasionally to work with my father as an architectural designer (as I had done from the age of 13).
I eventually gravitated back to Omaha, and became a partner in 1967 in a Midtown counter-cultural shop called The Farthest Outpost. When I learned of the former produce market downtown and toured the beautiful old buildings, I knew I wanted to be there. The Farthest Outpost became one of the first new businesses that opened in the Old Market in 1968. We sold the business in 1969 and opened duRand & Wright, a design-oriented shop, which I closed a year later to concentrate on my own design practice. I designed many shops, apartments, condos, logos, and advertising campaigns, and provided aesthetic counsel to nascent businesses in the growing Old Market.
Over the years, I have designed for clients across the country and in England, but the Old Market holds a special place in my affections.
In 1971, I participated in the planning commission that created the “return to the river” Central Park Mall, and the anticipated Marina City that was tragically co-opted by ConAgra. I fought to save Jobbers Canyon from needless demolition.
In the ’80s, I served on Omaha’s Zoning Board of Appeals, and later on the Landmarks Historic Preservation Commission.
My work consists of a variety of disciplines: primary architecture, interior architecture, furniture design, lighting design, graphic design, and corporate identity.
Back in the day, I used to cut hair for rock bands. The Farthest Outpost booked San Francisco bands into the Music Box and other local venues. I even made clothes and leather goods.
My wife, Jody, and I were married 24 years ago in the Garden of the Zodiac and hosted our reception at La Buvette, closing 11th Street south of Howard Street for the party.
Life is good. I will never retire. Family, work, recreation, and travel energize me.
My advice on aging is: don’t. Stay involved in society. Stay fit and healthy. Use your special abilities. Show your love and friendship.
There’s no reason that a person of advancing years can’t look great. Style trumps fashion. Style is art; fashion is commerce. Have the confidence to express your unique personal creativity in dress. I have acquired a great wardrobe over many years, and routinely wear items that are 40 years old. Buy the best quality and maintain conscientiously. Style is never out of style.
This article first appeared in the January/February 2018 edition of 60PLUS.