Diego Leon on style and what it’s like to be a ‘Dandy In the Bronx’

photo courtesy of DANDY IN THE BRONX

Diego Leon loves his city. The Bronx native is all about showing the BX some love, and he’s especially committed to raising awareness of a burgeoning fashion forward culture in the borough. Leon is “Dandy In the Bronx,” fashion blogger and self-proclaimed “dandy.” So what kind of man is a dandy? Leon explains.

“A dandy is fashionable to the extremes — almost in an over-exaggerated way,” Diego shares. “It’s a way to present yourself, a gentleman’s lifestyle. I’m trying to embody that lifestyle. I’m trying to get to 100% dandy. I’m trying to share my experience of being a dandy in the Bronx and trying to highlight that fashion aspect in the Bronx and a lifestyle, as well — new restaurants, places that are interesting. That’s my hometown, so I wanted to showcase it in a positive light as opposed to all of the bad things people associate with the Bronx.”

Leon has grown into embracing this side of himself. He launched his blog last year after deciding that he wanted to commit himself to honing this image, and “Dandy In the Bronx” was born. “This was definitely something I grew into. I wasn’t always like this. It was a lot of research and a lot of learning. I wanted to make my own style. I went to Instagram, Tumblr and reached out to other bloggers and men’s wear icons. The first dandy I met was in Brooklyn. And all of that combined together. I developed my own personal style. It’s always growing and I’m always trying out new things. It’s always evolution.”

And in the minds of many, the Bronx doesn’t have the glitzy reputation of Manhattan or the boho mystic of Brooklyn; Leon understands that “style” may not be the first thing one associates with New York City’s northernmost borough.

“The Bronx doesn’t have that kind of image,” he concedes. “But there are things that do. The Bronx recently launched its own Fashion Week. It started last year, so I wanted to showcase that. The Bronx has its cultural centers and we should showcase them. Everyone hears about Brooklyn, Manhattan and so forth; the Bronx has all of those things and I think they’re ignored because people have their assumptions about the Bronx. I want to bring that to the forefront.”

“It’s been pretty positive so far in the Bronx,” he continues. “The rest of New York has been really positive, as well. People want to listen what I have to bring to the table and stories about the Bronx.”

Diego Leon came into his own as a Dandy In the Bronx, and he’s working to connect others with a sense of flair and a passion for looking dapper. But mostly, he wants more people to love themselves and gain confidence in their own skin. “For some people, it’s just affirmation that it’s okay to dress up all the time!” he says. “Some people just like to dress up all the time and people s—t on them. ‘Why does he dress like that?’ It’s just what we like to do. And it’s cool to bring people together. It’s just a style. It’s who we are: being a dandy, being a gentleman and trying to dress well. And the Bronx has a side of people who want to do this.”

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