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Designer Alexander Pezo teaching Black boys how to be polished and powerful

Alexander Pezo (Photo credit: Allison Miller for her company Photos By Ace)

Born Alexander Mays, “Alexander Pezo” is a notable fashion designer, stylist, and author.

As a teenager, Pezo was drawn to styles that stood out, making him a true trendsetter. Believing that one’s appearance can make or break a first impression, inspired him to always remain dapper.

Not only does he help people to find their perfectly polished look as a stylist and image consultant, but he also offers business and professional coaching.

Pezo is the founder of the nonprofit, Polish Your Appearance Academe Inc., a community organization on a mission to inspire, motivate, and educate men on how to enhance (H.O.M.E.) Health, Optimism, Morals, and Evolvement.

Pezo has authored Polish Your Appearance: A Gentleman’s Guide to Style and Image in addition to Polish Your Appearance, a 30-day devotional.

We spoke with Pezo on “Design & Dialogue.”

What started your love affair with fashion?

It started when I was 16 years old. I went to private school my whole life. Back in the day when they had Guess jeans, I asked my mom to buy me a pair. She said, “It cost me $1,500 a year to send you to school. If you want those jeans, you have to get a job.” I got a summer job and I told mom moving forward, I would always buy my school clothes. The first thing I bought with my first check was a pair of Cole Haan shoes. Guys in high school weren’t wearing Cole Haan. Back then silk shirts with the hidden buttons were in and different things like that, so that started my love affair with fashion.

What inspired you to write your books?

When you start thinking about the Black household, there are a lot of fatherless Black households. There are a lot of young men that are being asked to do things that they know nothing about. I figured, why not put a guide together. It talks about the foundation of where my polished [manner] came from and it talks about having a polished mentor. If you’re not getting it in the home, your family or guardians would be remiss to not put us in touch with mentors. I had two, a brother, and my history teacher, who was the first guy that ever challenged me. He told me I was a great athlete, but, ‘I want to see you get a 90 [percent].’

It really stood out for me because I wanted to continue to cultivate that relationship. In cultivating that relationship, it allowed me to put together the book because it really is just talking about my life experience.

What drove you to take your brand beyond fashion?

I call the bait and switch. You pull everyone in with the shiny, which is fashion. I wanted to switch the pitch and bring out a broader scope of my platform, which is about reaching back to that next generation. Guys my age, we just want to talk about what they’re not doing and not the solution.