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Bridge Boy Clothing highlights quest for happiness, mental health

MARINE VILLA  – Whether you are around a friend or by yourself, smiling could be infectious. For Bridge Boy Clothing, it’s more of an oxymoron, at least for what’s on their clothing. But this local clothing brand is using its clothes and social media to help spread the importance of mental wellness through the beauty of a frown.

Bridge Boy Clothing hosted its first pop-up shop Saturday at the Swedlife boutique at 2218 Cherokee Street.

The six-hour Bridge Boy shop featured hats, shirts and hoodies with art that is inspired by St. Louis and that highlights the quest for happiness within our darkest moments.

“Anything beautiful in this world looks better with shadows on it, that’s the darkness,” said Dairal Wilderness, a music artist and creator of the clothing brand. “With that is just showing kids that you can work through what you got going on.”

Wilderness created the clothing brand under his performance name, Kayano Reeves. But long before, he used his artistry in other forms. One of his favorite things to do was to write storylines for sequels of Disney channel movies, with one of his favorites being a sequel to the straight-to-TV movie “Luck of the Irish.”

Wilderness’ love for writing would not only grow into an interest in producing more scripts for giggles, but would inspire him to use such a skill to make music as Kayano Reeves.

Because of the darker tone he takes with his sound and lyrics and the happiness that could still be found within the material (along with Wilderness’ handing out flowers to people who go to his concerts), this would be one of the first steps in his creating Bridge Boy.

“I know I make a lot of somber, sad music,” Wilderness said. “Even with [this] banner, I took like two dozen roses, made a frown out of the roses, because I still wanted to incorporate [happiness] with the flowers.”

The original idea for Bridge Boy Clothing was Wilderness’ album, projected to be promoted through a series of EPs. The themes of his music inspired him to use the same persona in creating his clothing.

“It kind of created a character,” he said. “I realized that the character is the best version of me. … It’s still growing and changing, so the more I grow, every day it changes with me.”

Along with close friends who collaborated with him, Wilderness began to draw his own designs and logos for Bridge Boy. He even used his script-writing skills to create sketches for social media to promote the clothing, with the official ad for the pop-up shop being based off of a script he wrote.

Bridge Boy’s pop-up shop attracted a solid number of fashion enthusiasts to the limited number of clothing items being sold. But Wilderness is aware that the brand itself means more than just pieces’ flying off the rack.

“When I was starting my brand, I read something that said the point of being an entrepreneur is finding a problem and providing a solution,” the artist said. “So my music has always catered to people with mental health issues. Doing the [clothing] brand is kind of a uniform to let you know … this is a representation of ourselves.”

A recent story on Bridge Boy’s official Instagram page said that the pop-up shop had sold all its items. However, original pieces can be seen at @SmileBridgeBoy or @SmileKayano via Instagram; and Wilderness said his website ( should be operating within the next few months.

Vance Brinkley

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