BE Modern Man is an integrative program that honors the essence, image, and accomplishments of today’s man of color. With features of today’s leaders, executives, creatives, students, politicians, entrepreneurs, professionals, and agents of change—these men share the common thread of creating a new normal while setting the bar in tech, art, philanthropy, business, and beyond. The BE Modern Man is making a positive impact, his way, and has a story to tell.
BE MODERN MAN CHRISTOPHER BEVANS
Profession: Founder/Creative Director of DYNE
One Word That Describes You: Enlightened
What does being one of the BE Modern Man 100 Honorees mean to you?
Growing up, I used to look at and admire the previous BE Top 100. It inspired and motivated me to see what we could accomplish. So, to finally make the list is something I will treasure. And I hope I can inspire a younger generation.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
I believe in sharing knowledge with other black entrepreneurs and creatives to help them navigate the fashion industry, understand their craft and the right way to network. As a Design Director/Creative Director from Nike to Billionaire Boys Club and beyond, I hire and mentor designers who’ve gone on to have Director roles for well-regarded fashion labels or to start their own brands. As a MacArthur Grant recipient a few years ago, I worked in conjunction with the Smithsonian and Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum to establish an after-school program that taught the multi-disciplines of fashion design. The students’ final show was presented in the RocNation offices thanks to Jay-Z. I’m also the Creative Director for Marshawn Lynch’s Beast Mode brand; as two black entrepreneurs, we consistently support each other’s brand. Beast Mode is one of the few sportswear brands that is solely owned by the athlete. This is something that Marshawn and I try to instill in younger black men looking to build their own wealth.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
Failing forward at the age of 20, I was the sole owner of an alteration and shoe repair shop in upstate New York. It didn’t exactly end the way that I was hoping that it would, but at that age, I wasn’t prepared for owning a small business. From my missteps running that company, I never let that stop me from achieving my ultimate goal of which I am living today. I had to start from scratch, learn to dig deep and trust my instincts, along with seeking mentors that were successful in the industry that I was (am) pursuing. I share this experience to encourage young black entrepreneurs to find an experienced mentor that has done what they’re beginning to do.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact”?
I have over 20 employees and we are all minorities. We’re 100% owned and run by minorities. We take pride in diversity and providing a platform for young creative voices to exercise their talents.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Christopher Bevans/DYNE
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Self-reflection: I like to hear what someone has done, but that’s less valuable than hearing why they did it. Discretion: if he or she can’t be trusted to keep confidences, our relationship will be superficial at best. Honesty: because it should be able to be given in any situation. Curiousity: it feeds creativity. Generosity of spirit: a generous person will always make connections or offer resources that can be helpful to the overall movement.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
I am currently preparing for my Spring 2019 fashion campaign for DYNE, which means we are showing the Spring collection in Florence, Milan, Paris, and New York. We have some exciting collaborations coming up with a couple of tech giants.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Whoever is sitting across the table from you, always look them in the eye. In other words, whoever you’re in a room with, whether it be a business meeting or a presentation, you’re qualified to be there.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Share your knowledge. Sometimes when you hear your voice, you realize how much you actually do know that can help the next man/woman come up.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
It takes careful planning months in advance for our events. Weekly team meetings, Skype calls with external partners located around the world, constant communication on the event theme with my internal leadership committee, constant communication with my investors, and sending clear direction to my PR firm to ensure the message for the event is concise and the right people are in attendance. Rehearsals are also key to ensure a smooth execution, trusting the teams in place.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
In all honesty, I haven’t taken a true vacation in years. But what I do make sure of is to spend quality time with my family. We live in Portland, Oregon, where we have the beautiful Oregon backdrop as our playground. I am fortunate to travel the world, to places like South Korea, Paris, and Dubai. When I’m not in a factory or office, I like to explore the different cultures. It’s enlightening.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I would like to travel to outer space to see the planet in all its beauty. One of my mentors is retired black astronaut Leland Melvin. His photos from orbiting the planet are just breathtaking.
Anything else you’d like to say?
In the fashion industry, I have a vision of the future of retail. I am focused on changing the way that we shop and interact with brands and technology. It is a bit disruptive, but, inventive.
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.
Come celebrate the BE Modern Man 100 Men of Distinction at the 2nd Annual Black Men XCEL, Aug. 29–Sept. 2, 2018, at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.