How Interesting People Stay Sane: Miguel Bencourte

Posted 1/20/2011 by smartblackboy in Labels: , , , , , , ,

It is more important than ever to focus on sanity and balance. At the start of the New Year, the Dallas Arts Community lost one of its brightest son’s, Frankie Campagna Jr., to suicide at the age of 24. As a person who has dealt with and advocated for mental health issues for years (and a person who is 24) this particularly hit home with me. One of the many reasons why the nonprofit 29 Pieces is so wonderful is that it encourages balance, joy, and mental health in a creative and open way. If you are interested in these issues or would like to learn more, please make plans to attend our kick-off event January 29th, called “Who Are You? A Masquerade Ball Benefiting Karen Blessen’s 29 Pieces.”

I had the pleasure to chat with Miguel Bencourte, menswear designer, style consultant, and overall purveyor of cool on how a young mover and shaker stays sane in a sometimes crazy fashion world.

29 Pieces: So tell our readers a little bit about what makes you interesting?

Miguel Bencourte: I am a style consultant and owner of The Gentleman's Closet, an online retail store. I just recently launched my own necktie collection called the Bencourte Coleccion. I also have two more collections, one with a lower price point, One Gentleman, and another that has a nicer finish, the seven fold tie entitled, Miguel Bencourte Coleccion. I am completing my first book, Jellybeans. My business partner and I just launched Retail Therapy - Remedy For The Fashionably Insane - an event that showcases local artistic talent in music, art, and fashion. We provide the base that can get them noticed to a wider audience.

29: Are you originally from Dallas?

MB: Originally no. I am from a small town in west Texas, Smyer,Tx. POP. 455 I have been in Dallas for ten years now and I love it.

29: When did you know your path was going to be fashion?

MB: I always had a passion for it growing up, but I wanted to be in sports medicine. Being from a less fortunate family we had to learn to be creative. I was consulting with the Men’s Warehouse back in ‘02 and I helped wardrobe a gentleman for a CEO position. In helping him understand how to dress, the excitement of his new knowledge, I knew he would share with others and he gained a new confidence. A couple of weeks later he came in to thank me for helping him get the new CEO position. I couldn't shake the feeling I had at that moment. To better and empower others in every way!

29: What made you decide to start a business?

MB: My mother instilled that rule in us as children, "You must have your own businesses!" I wanted to take that same feeling I discussed earlier and make it my passion. I wanted to do it on my own terms, my way, with the integrity to help others accomplish their goals and dreams. That is what I want my neckties to symbolize, dreams and success.

29: What are the three moments that have helped shape your life?

MB: 9/11. When Obama was elected President. And the moment I lost my mother due to cancer. Sounds bad, but it was a life lesson I will never forget. It made me a man.

29: Was losing your mother to cancer the most painful moment in your life?

MB: The moment she passed away she was in my arms. That wasn't as painful as watching her slowly lose her power each day after being diagnosed. The moment she passed it seemed as if the torch was passed. I had two younger brothers to care for and now I had to make mature adult decisions at 20.

29: How did you get through it?

MB: I prayed. Sounds typical. But that’s what I did. I learned to truly pray for my mom, which gave me power and knowledge in me that I can do all things. I had to learn to release truly the stress, anger, confusion, and hurt and channel it somewhere. I grew spiritually. I kept myself busy and I accepted the challenges of life and obstacles that tried to break my vision. To get around these, I needed help. I learned to be creative. I make sure that each creative thought or idea is better than the last. It keeps me evolving.

29: How do you deal with negativity?

MB: I channel it. I keep myself open to it, but stay guarded as well. I listen what is being done or said, but if it doesn't help or better me, then it’s gone. I have no room for negativity.

29: Why is making time for ourselves important?

MB: It is important because you have to have a balance. No one knows you better than you! I make sure that I have that me time. I can go to dinner or a movie by myself and be good with it.

29: In your industry, you are around a lot of beautiful people, a lot of money, a lot of parties - is there ever a temptation to get caught up in "the life"?

MB: At first there was. I was younger. It’s exciting and energetic, and the American Dream that is instilled in us as children is all lights, camera, action. Temptations are always around, but it’s how you control it. I control me and my surroundings. In being in it doesn't mean I own it. I choose to own it.

29: So how do you stay sane?

MB: I make time for myself whether it be with family, friends, and keep an inner circle of people that will help and encourage me when I need it. I pray. I make sure that I give back to others that need it. The feeling of helping someone else refuels me and all the sleepless nights and extra hours of work are all worth it.

29: Who do you want to be when you leave your body?

MB: A miracle

29: What do you mean by that?

MB: If I could be anything, it would be cool to help someone in a way that it could only be a blessing from God, or gift from God.

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