On Monday, October 2, 2017, I had the great pleasure of meeting with and learning from Men’s Fashion Blogger and Social Media Consultant, Diego Leon. His style was not the only thing that was dandy, but his character as well!
Diego was a preschool teacher who taught students who were required to wear uniforms. As an effort to make his young pupils feel more comfortable, Diego started to wear more dapper outfits that would resemble his young scholars.
The role of a teacher is to help learners grow their skills, enhance their confidence, and prepare for the next level…lessons that Diego soon had to teach himself.
Though the face of “Dandy in the Bronx” had a knack for teaching, he found an underlying passion in fashion and so he followed his heart. Diego recalled having to take a leap of faith by quitting his job to dedicate his time to being a Men’s Fashion Blogger.
“It’s funny because I still feel like I’m a teacher anyway,” said Diego. ” I’m still teaching people about menswear fashion, I’m still teaching people about social media, so I was able to take a lot of the skills I picked up while I was teaching and use them right here.”
During our conversation, Diego shared some advice for those who are pursing their passions. He suggested for people to be the differentiator in whatever they do because in this day in age, everything that you want to do has already been done; but do that thing that separates you from the rest. For perfectionists, like myself, he suggests for people to just put their work out there since people typically remember who is in first place, not second or third.
One piece of advice stood out : ” Figure out what you’re good at, excel in that part, and then find out what your weaknesses are.”
Diego explained that some people think they can be the jack of all trades and do everything. That is not possible, we need to rely on other whose strengths can make up for our weaknesses. ” Realize that you are not a one person army, that you’re more like a general, you need to pick out the right people to fill in your ranks.”
As a dedicated entrepreneur, Diego wakes up between 5am-6am. Having this early morning routine allows him to exercise, write for his blog, and get his posts ready for the day.
After hearing about some of Diego’s work background, we spoke about the Bronx.
Like many of those who grew up in the Bronx, Diego believed that in order to be successful, he would have to leave the borough. Part of this mentality, he suggests, is due to what we see on TV. When watching a program that is based in New York City, a majority of the time, it is set in Manhattan. Diego, like many other children, dreamed of having a cool job with a fancy apartment in the center of the Big Apple…that was until he realized that he could achieve those same things in the Bronx.
“I slept on the Bronx, I think a lot of us did and now it’s time to wake up,” said Diego. ” All of these opportunities are now available in the Bronx…we need to take advantage of that.”
In talking about gentrification, we also touched on what we love and appreciate about the Old Bronx. For Diego, he appreciates the sounds of music at night and watching residents play dominos in front of their building. He cautions that even though technology is taking over nowadays and we are seeing rapid changes, to not replace the people. In essence, appreciate those around us because they are what make up the Bronx.
On Diego’s blog, dandyinthebronx.com, he mentions that he wants to bring the best of the world to the Bronx and bring the best of the Bronx to the world. “How are you doing that?” I asked.
” When people think ‘Bronx’, they think ‘streets’, they think ‘ghetto’ all of these negative connotations created by the media, “said Diego. “…I want to show people that there are cool initiatives and events happening in the Bronx that people don’t know about…I want show the cool brands that I work with to show that these [brands] have a home in the BX.” In conjunction to a previous statement, Diego wants people to know that reputable brands are not only represented in Manhattan, they can be in the Bronx too.
There are many takeaways from Diego’s interview. He is a teacher at heart and has many lessons that go way beyond the preschool classroom. Diego hopes to inspire people beyond fashion; he wants people to know that they can achieve they’re dreams.
“If you are from the Bronx [reaching your goals] is not an impossibility,” said Diego. “We can do start-ups here, we can do businesses here, we can do fashion here, we can do anything here.”