Episode 42: Creativity After Grief and Masculine Vulnerability

Mar 17, 2022 | Podcast Episode

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Sabir M. Peele is mostly known for his style expertise and blog, Men’s Style Pro but he is also quite familiar with grief. He is very vocal about the masculine perspective, vulnerability and why opening up is both helpful and necessary as a man experiencing grief. We also get into parenthood and how it affects our grief as well as how we begin to understand the depth of our parents’ love once we become parents. We need more men like Sabir in the grief community so I’m excited to share him in this episode.

Sabir is from North Philadelphia and created Men’s Style Pro in 2010 to give men advice and tips on style. His brand has since evolved into a full-fledged editorial site & consulting firm, encompassing everything from the how-to’s of men’s style to finding out the best place for a steak in your city. Sabir was first recognized for his style sense as the winner of the King of Prussia Mall style contest in 2008 before attracting the attention of the national style media and was named one of Esquire Magazine’s “5 Best Dressed Real Men in America” and in addition was the winner of the Fan Favorite vote in 2010. In the fall of 2013, he was selected by GQ Magazine as their #GQFall Best Dressed. Today, Sabir serves as a freelance brand ambassador & executive stylist for GQ and consults for numerous brands — on top of running the ship at Men’s Style Pro.

Episode Highlights:

  • Sabir’s career path, his first job at age 10, and the story behind Men’s Style Pro
  • His experience growing up in a dysfunctional family with two parents struggling with addiction
  • How he found respect after resentment and how becoming a parent transformed some of that resentment
  • The hurt, loneliness, and grief that comes from having no living parent figure
  • How grief affects his own personal style
  • Why it’s so important to understand and feel your emotions and how he encourages others to be vulnerable
  • Dream clients he’d love to work with and who in the celebrity space could use some style support

Learn more and connect with Sabir:

Transcripts (Please Note: This transcript was computer-generated so please be mindful of errors):
[00:00:00] Gianna: Thank you so much for being here. You are men’s style pro style has been a part of your life for how long, when did you know that you had this special talent of just looking a little better than everybody?

[00:00:12] Sabir: Yeah, it’s funny. I think it’s probably been, always been a part of my life. But recognition probably didn’t come until like high school. Just people were like, oh man, your style is like really on point. But like from when I was a small kid, like I took notice of stylish because like my grandmother she worked in dry cleaners. 35 years, really small. So she used to work right in Germantown, in Philly.
So when I was about like four or five years old, I used to go with her to the dragon and while she was working and it was like a big one, it wasn’t like a small, like outsource. They did it. And I used to watch our press clothes. I used to sit in the big laundry baskets and watch it. So like attention to like how my clothes looked was always there.

Even if it wasn’t like the most stylish thing, it was always like the most pressed. I didn’t even like, even in like the baggy, like, cause I, I was born in the mid eighties, grew up in the nineties. So like I grew up in a baggy hip hop era. Like I never did baggy saggy pants. I might have had a longer pan, but I never did like baggy, but I still needed

[00:01:12] Gianna: to look crisp the MC hammer thing going

[00:01:15] Sabir: No, no, no, that wasn’t me, but I probably have like a Gumby haircut or two somewhere in the past. But, yeah, it’s always, it’s been a major part of who I am my entire

[00:01:26] Gianna: life. I feel like that’s such a scene of a movie. I love this. I’m picturing this in my mind. Like you sitting in like one of the laundry baskets and like all the laundry rings are going around and that was it.

[00:01:39] Sabir: I recently drove by there and I was like, wow. Like I spent so much at like my small part of my childhood in this back of this stone building.

[00:01:46] Gianna: Yeah. Yeah. Did you have any people specifically that you looked up to for their style?

[00:01:51] Sabir: So it’s funny. Like, I didn’t have like personal style influences. . I think as I got older, I just started looking towards more athletes though. Cause I was also an athlete.

But as I [00:02:00] got older, I think my style was more like either musician based or like sports based. So like, I love when I looked like old school, like rat pack style from like a little bit more of like a Sammy Davis Jr. Style, because I love that he could dance. when I saw someone dancing in a suit, I was like, oh, that’s cool.
And then I was in like the usher for rails probably like is probably still my biggest style influence. And then like the kinase of the world really like really piqued my interest. Once I really started like being a student of style. like the designers became in my people. So like Ralph Lauren became my guy, Michael bastion.
I love what Tom Ford did like through all these iterations in terms of style. And then like, it just goes deeper. It gets deeper and deeper and deeper. I was like a rabbit hole person. Like I found one thing about. Then I kind of dove into that person. Then I was like, oh, let me deep dive into the magazines.
Then I got into the GQs, the Esquires of the world. And I think I kind of just ran from there.

[00:02:56] Gianna: Yeah. And GQ and Esquire [00:03:00] really noticed the talent that you had and you won some of the competitions that they had.

[00:03:05] Sabir: one of my fraternity brothers was like, Hey, there’s this Esquire best dress romance in America competition. I knew the person who had one the year before I entered, just cause I started following him because he had a style blog and he was young.
He was at Columbia and I was like, yo, this dude is fly. He’s an athlete. And he did one America’s crush romance in college. I never thought about insurance. I was like, I’m good. I don’t need to like, I’ll just take this on my own. But my fraternity brother was like, yo superior. You should enter by the time we’re out of college and you had to enter at least five looks.
I put 10 looks in then people voted at first. So the year that I entered 3000 people. Oh, my God. And I was like 2009, 10. I made it to the final five. And then I won the fan favorite votes. I was in the magazine doing all these interviews and whatnot. So it became a big thing quickly.

[00:03:54] Gianna: Yeah. Yeah. Was that like an out-of-body experience to be like, holy shit, I just won this thing and now I’m [00:04:00] here. Yeah.

[00:04:01] Sabir: Well it blew my mind because like after the competition was, or when it was in like its height, when I made the final five and I knew I was gonna be in a magazine I started getting like all the people talking about me on the internet, because this is like at the beginning of hashtag men’s wear internet.
So like Instagram hadn’t even started yet. It

[00:04:19] Gianna: was about to be something I imagine the world back in the day pre-Instagram our kids are gonna think we’re so archaic.

[00:04:24] Sabir: Right. So it was like humbler And some Facebook groups, but then there were, there were forums, like style forum where people were like, all the men’s wear nerds would go in and talk about each other’s outfits.
Like, what do you think about this? Then I was seeing people writing articles like, oh, who is this guy from the final five? I was on like this website, this website, people want to interview you. I was like, oh, damn, this is like

[00:04:41] Gianna: crazy right now.
Had you started men’s style pro at the time, or that was still something that you were working

[00:04:46] Sabir: towards? Nope. So I started minced out bro right afterwards. So like that September I was in the magazine two months later, I started on November 19th, I guess that’s 2010. I started minced out bro, because people [00:05:00] then were like, come to me, like, why don’t you have a blog?
When you have a website, we want to learn more about like men’s style from like a regular dude. So I remember another friend from college who was a photographer. I was talking to him like late night, we had a couple of drinks. We were like, drunk talking on the phone. I could still talk to people on the phone.
You know, you should make a website, you should do it. Like, I believe in you, you know how to do this. And while we’re on the phone, I have my computer on my lap. I went to WordPress and the first thing that came out was men style, bro. The first thing came out and I bought the domain.

[00:05:31] Gianna: That’s when it started.
I love it. I love when things kind of just fall into place like that. Like do you believe in the whole, like the universe kind of lines up when it needs to? Yeah. Cause it seems like that’s very much what’s happening in your story here. So I love that.

[00:05:43] Sabir: Yeah. There, there was a lot of like dominoes, it just fell in and I was like spreading to be dissuaded to be doing.

[00:05:49] Gianna: Yeah. And then what’s so that was 2010. What’s the last 12 years been like, give me some of the top highlights that you’ve had in your career with men’s style.

[00:05:56] Sabir: So 2010 make the magazine for [00:06:00] Esquire. 2013 though, and more like a competition realm. I won GQ fall, best dress.
That’s insane. And I had no idea. People were, obviously, this is Instagram is alive and well at that point and people were hitting me up like, yo, congratulations. I was like, what the hell are you talking about? I had no idea. They were just saying, congratulations. I just woke up and saw it. And so like, that was huge. And then in that timeframe, I got my first national campaign for Johnson and Murphy shoes. And it was just off of the strength that like, when I first started the blog, one of the first pair of shoes I wanted was a pair of oxblood tassel loafers.
Cause it was like the men’s wear shoe, but I was like, I’m going to wear my dress it down with jeans, but it looks so good. It’s that rich, burgundy color. Yeah. I was just sending them pictures, like, Hey, I found like their PR people. I was like, Hey, it’s going to give you a couple of pictures. I shot for his blog posts.
And then they’re like, Hey, we want you to be a part of this national campaign. So like national campaign for Johnson and Murphy worked for GQ. Then I had my own like web series for [00:07:00] Esquire, which was huge called refashioned. And like that took off like crazy.
there’s so many, like I’ve, I’ve done clothing design I’ve won best affiliate for some of my clothing designs with a company called motive matters. It was like so many. Now, like thinking of like the years of things

[00:07:14] Gianna: that I’ve done and you probably don’t all that often, like stop and sit and think of everything that you’ve accomplished.
And you seem like somebody who is so passionate about it, that it’s not work for you. Is that the case?

[00:07:26] Sabir: Yeah. Like literally, like, I know I gotta have a shit ton of things to do, but I’m like, all right, I’m going to get done. I like doing it.

[00:07:32] Gianna: I want to get into your family a little bit. tell me what happened there. I

[00:07:35] Sabir: Like I never had like a close family relationship.
I come from a highly dysfunctional family. Like a lot of people do. My mother passed away when I was 11. Oh, wow. you know, you never get through grief obviously. Like you grieve and grieve and like, some things might trigger you or you just always have that thing weighing on you.
And I put like a lot of resentment into like my relationship with my dad early on. Like when my mom died, because like, I just felt like he [00:08:00] wasn’t there for me. And like, I never lived with him. Like I didn’t live after after the age of three, I never lived with my dad. I lived with my grandma. Who was like my main guardian and my mom was in and out.
Cause like my mom and my dad were both affected by drugs. They were drug addicts. So it was like a crazy dynamic, like being a north Philly kid, trying to stay alive, living with your grandma. She’s old. She has to get herself. It’s kind of living my brother and his wife, too many moving parts. It was very much, I would look at situations where I felt like I shouldn’t have to be doing so much as a kid.
And I’m like, where the hell is my dad? Like, why aren’t you, why aren’t you being my dad?

[00:08:38] Gianna: I was going to say, do you feel like your childhood was robbed from you?

[00:08:41] Sabir: Yeah, cause I felt like, I’m probably one of the few people I know who’s always had a job, like from the age of like 10, like I used to work in a barbershop when I was a little kid.
Like sweeping up hair then eventually like washing hair. And then I worked under the table at like a clothing store, putting clothes back and like getting paid cash And then I worked at a diner, I never had time to just play [00:09:00] and like have fun and not thinking about like, what’s my next meal.
so then there were times where my dad was like, kind of present. So I felt like, okay, you want me to be your kid? But you don’t.

[00:09:12] Gianna: How was it when he was present? Like, do you feel that you really latched on to the relationship and you were like, oh my God, he’s here. I want to soak up everything I can.
Or were you still in that? Like, what the hell are you doing here? I’m resentful.

[00:09:25] Sabir: It was probably more on like some days I was latched on, I was happy to have a dad. And then other times I was like, I know you don’t really care. But you’re happy that I’m doing well.
I remember he came to like my fourth grade graduation, and like, he was proud of my accomplishments. Cause like, you know, smart. He was like, I have a really smart son does well in school, but it was like, all I needed to do is see you at least once a week.
And just, I that’s, that would have been satisfaction. I went years without seeing, I never developed like a really close bond, but I also was like, damn, I’m trying to, but it was just hard. Cause I felt like he was part of the reason that my mom died [00:10:00] and he, at the point where he could have taken time to be like, all right, your mom’s dead.
Let me, let me step in and really be more of a parent. You don’t have to be like super dead. You could have been like, let me be here a couple of times a month

[00:10:12] Gianna: on a regular basis. That’s so tough. Cause it’s like, I’m not asking you to move mountains. I just want you to be there and be. And it’s hard to realize why that can’t happen.
And the stories I hear from people with us and their parents, it’s such a shame. did you find yourself trying to work through your grief of your mom? Like in other years, like maybe when you were 11, you didn’t quite understand what to do with it, but then all of a sudden you’re 18 and you’re like, shit, I need to sit and analyze this a little

[00:10:38] Sabir: bit more.
when I got a little bit older, like 17, 18 is when it really started to weigh on me because like, I was applying to go to college and none of my family had been to college. Like I was a first person, first generation college. And thank you. And like, people like where I come from, like, that’s, it’s almost looked down upon like, oh, you want to leave?
You think you’re better than us and shit like that. I wish I just [00:11:00] had, like, at that moment I was wishing like, I wish my mom was here because like, she was a different breed of individuals. Like she was like, all right, you got this, we can do this. What do you need? that’s when I started to really like how much I missed my mom.
And then I had some more, I think my resentment for my dad got bigger because there were times where I’d be drunk in college and like, have these freakouts, like I’m not calling my dad one time and I don’t know how I can recall this. Cause I know I was like drunk, like college drunk and I was sitting somewhere on campus and I called him.
I was like, I’m so mad at you because you didn’t protect my mom. you’re not here for me ever. And I like flipped out. It was like a bad deal. But like, I’m spending the majority of my life breathing, grieving my mother more than my father, which is interesting.

[00:11:43] Gianna: How did he take that conversation?

[00:11:45] Sabir: Oh, I think that broke him a little bit he tried to be like, nice. Like he never got became like closer. What

[00:11:50] Gianna: are you trying? But you saw a transition or some type of change.

[00:11:54] Sabir: I think at two, I was like, I was older. I was an adult and I felt more comfortable speaking [00:12:00] to him in a way that was like more like terse and forward, not feeling like, oh, I’m just your kid.
But I was like, from all of what hasn’t happened, like, I didn’t get enough of some kind of level of care. And like, just like having a knowledge of like, I have a parent, like I remember being in college and like we’d have family days and like, I don’t have any family. I know you’re alive and out there.
And you never knew what was like, you know what? I’m gonna come see you. Like I tell you when these days are, I’m like, you know, or just even like, Hey spirit, I’m gonna come up to see you at college. Like, show me around your campus. Like, I shouldn’t have to be the one to be like, Hey, like you should be proud.
Like, oh, damn, you made the college. And be honest. You’re doing well.

[00:12:40] Gianna: No. it is crazy how grief I think. Take somebody into adulthood really quickly. You know, I was 27 when my dad died, so I still pretty much wasn’t adult, but you know, you’re still kind of like, I didn’t have my own family yet.
Right. So you still feel like you’re the kid in terms of the dynamic that you have with your parents. And that really shifted. [00:13:00] And I can imagine as 11, 16, 17, 18, how difficult that is also how grief makes you have conversations with people. Like when your parents, all of a sudden become equals, right?
Like they’re not just your parent anymore. Or like almost, I don’t want to say respect goes out the window, but things get raw real quick

[00:13:22] Sabir: I think what respect is shifts like before you back them as your parent, but now you just respect and as a person that you talk to, it’s like when you talk to a friend, You know, you have a furniture, always like a hundred percent for it.
I feel like there there’s often a switch like that with your parents. It can

[00:13:38] Gianna: happen. You said your mom passed from drug addiction. Did you find yourself ever being resentful of her as well? Or do you think, you know, sometimes we have, I am so guilty of this. We have this tendency of putting the debt on a pedestal.
So do you feel like your, your resentment got funneled to your dad? Or did you feel it for her

[00:13:57] Sabir: too? No, it definitely felt that for her. And I felt that [00:14:00] young because like, when I moved in with my grandmother, when I was like four or five and my mom was in and out because of her drug use, my grandma was like, I don’t want her in here, but then it’s her daughter.
So I had to work or go through that with my mom. I used to resent and things. There will be times where she would come and take me like, oh, I want to have my son. And then take me to places where I walk wasn’t safe. So I resented the fact where I was like, yo, I know this is bad. Like I’m not a dumb kid and I’m a kid in this environment.
So you grow up quick. So I had resentment in the fact where it was like, I guess when I was smaller, I didn’t know like how prevalent addiction was. And like, didn’t understand that a hundred percent, but like you grew up in this situation where, you know, people on drugs and things like that. So, you know what it feels like, it seems like, and I was like, damn mom was like, you know, I’m right here.
Like, just be good for me for this month. I don’t want to be worried about you coming in or like, worry about like, are you so strung out, are you going to come like steal from us? Are you going to happen? So like I had those things, when I got a little bit older, right before she got sick.
So like from her drug use, she contracted [00:15:00] HIV and aids she had came back home because she got ill and. I spent a lot of time with her going back and forth to her doctor’s appointments and going to dialysis. And it made me understand more what like addiction can do to you. And like that level of cream.
And I stopped resenting her in that. I kind of had the same thing. Like once my son was born in 2016 my dad got sick, so my dad ended up getting sick and cancer terminal lung cancer. Wow. I kind of like made peace with my, in my mind with my dad when I was a little bit older.
And, but I was like, all right, I’m going to have a son. Like, I want you to at least meet your grandson and know that he is alive in front of me. You, even though he won’t remember. he, he apologized to me, but I like forgave him for his stuff. Cause like, all right, I’m a grown ass man. I’m out of college.
I studied things I know about death dying and grief and addiction. I know about depression. I was like, if someone, me personally, who suffered and like going through therapy and medication, but I’ve checked myself into mental health hospitals. Wow. Thank you. And it was like, if [00:16:00] I, the point we resenting you now is just like a hamster running on a wheel.
Like I’m getting nowhere for this.

[00:16:05] Gianna: it’s such an important message and such an important realization to have. I mean, like after a while you’re only hurting yourself, right? Like what do they say? Like the definition of insanity is like doing the same thing over and over again with the same result, right?
It’s really hard though. And especially this relationship between a child and a parent, like you always want to see the best in them. Like, no matter what, I mean, there’s a million people that have this same story in terms of like, I’ve been hurt over and over and over again. But that’s my mom, that’s my dad.
That’s my sibling, whoever it is. Like, of course I want to be there for them and want to try to help. But I want to talk about your son. How did becoming a parent transform the way that you looked at your own parents?

[00:16:43] Sabir: So it was kind of twofold because it was like one, it was like, all right, I have a kid now.
And I was like, well, what did my parents think when they had me how do they want to care for me? How did they look at me as a person? Like, this is our, this is our little personnel. Like, we gotta take care of her. And I was like, did they want to take care of me? I [00:17:00] was like, parenting is hard.
Like, do you see these dark circles? Yes, it is.

[00:17:04] Sabir: When a parent is hard. And I was like, I remember initially for me, like, I didn’t want to have any kids and like ended up having a kid. I’m like, alright, I have to be a good parent. Because like, if my son sees me the way I see my parents, it will devastate me. And I’ve had that realization like a couple of years ago and I thought to myself, I was like, yo, I can’t be resentful of like, how I was raised from like my parents’ perspective, because not everyone’s built to be a parent and it might’ve been worse for me if they were here, like in terms of like around when I needed them.

Because like, I, they could have been putting so much negativity into like our total relationship absence of it might have actually made it
[00:17:42] Gianna: better. I understand that. I do.

[00:17:45] Sabir: That was it. It was made my, my upbringing different, like I wasn’t traditional parent or really grandparents and things like that.
Like algorithms. getting doses of what parents were. But I was like, I was never parented it was just like, they were there. I knew they cared [00:18:00] about me if I need a blood donor, they’re my people.

[00:18:01] Gianna: But right. They were just a figure. They weren’t actually the support that you needed as a child. I kind of had this epiphany when I had my child. I have a 15 month old daughter, Sienna, and I S I see some things differently now.
Like my husband says it all the time. He’s like, holy shit. Our parents must’ve loved us. Like crazy. Like, he’s like the way that we love her now, I feel that, like that pull towards your child. And just little things that my dad did as a single father would, that was just like, okay, whatever, that’s what dads do.
But now being his.

[00:18:35] Gianna: Yeah. Yeah. Like seeing it, I’m like, oh my God. Like he took me to Disney world when I was seven. And again, I just thought, okay, well, parents take their kids to Disney world. But like I see now, like, first of all, the cost of something like that is astronomically through the roof, but to take this little girl on her first trip and like, I think about it, you know, all the pictures of me from that trip, I look absolutely ridiculous because he’s trying to do my hair and dress me and all these, [00:19:00] he was not part of men’s style pro at that time.

Let me tell you, he was a very fashionable man, but maybe not dressing a seven year old girl, but yeah. So I started to like, almost understand his love for me in a different way. And just like, know that towards the end of his life, we did have a pretty complicated relationship and it made me reset. Like, you know what, maybe that’s just all, he was able to give me at the time.

But at the end of the day, I know that he, he did love me. And, but even that in itself is hard because then when they’re not there and you have these realizations, it’s hard to. Who do you ask questions to? You’re kind of just left to your own devices to, to think and wonder, and, and all of that. as far as your grief goes with, with your dad’s passing, I mean, again, this complicated relationship that you had, like, what did that feel like to you?

Was it a traditional grief that you thought that you would have, or was there almost this feeling of relief I’ve had people on the podcast who termed the phrase, grief relief. She had such a complicated [00:20:00] relationship with her dad. He was dealing with alcoholism and she was like, I feel sick saying this, but I had such a feeling of relief when he passed that it was done.

[00:20:08] Sabir: I think for him, like part of his like when he got extremely sick with cancer, he was like physically a wreck. And like, I don’t want, I don’t want to see anyone go through that. It’s hard. And like, I think I saw in him for the first time. Him feeling sorry for how bad of a parent he was. Cause he cried.

It was one day and I felt his pain for his lack of parenting, any, any, like said it to me. I remember I was sitting on the edge of his bed while, and at this point, like he was like a week away from di he just apologized to me like profusely. Wow. And I was the first time that like, I saw him care for the fact that he was my dad.

Did your head explode? I didn’t even know what to do. And I’m like, I can think through anything and I I’m hyper emotional. Like I feel people’s emotions like everyone. The [00:21:00] first time I was like, I don’t know what to feel like. I didn’t know if I should feel relieved. Should I be. Or even like, why is this happening?
I didn’t feel any anger though.

[00:21:10] Gianna: You’re a good person.

[00:21:14] Sabir: think I felt so much anger for so long. That’s true. And it was like, I don’t feel that anymore. I’m like, I’m here just watching my dad die. But when he died, and I’ve said, it’s not a lot, but like to a few people, I was like, I’m fucking alone. Yeah.
Like no grandparents, no parents barely any family. And it’s like, oh, this is where I am now. And that’s what, like, I go through waves of that. Like my grief. It now goes to like waves. Cause like I feel more of like, I have no parents I wanted to be older and still have

[00:21:51] Gianna: parents. Yeah. my situation is not even as extreme as yours. I still have my mom and I still feel alone because I’m an only child.
So I [00:22:00] have no other siblings, you know, I looked at it as there’s no other person on this earth that looked at my dad the way that I did, I. Converse with somebody that understands. And our little unit on that side was my dad and my grandmother and my dad died in may. My grandmother died in March the following year.

So it was like within a year that unit was gone and it was just me left alone. But yeah, I said, I said, I have so many friends and family that came out to be there for me in my darkest time. And it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter if you asked me, I was like Jack and Titanic floating on that piece of wood in the middle of the ocean by myself.

[00:22:38] Sabir: And like, it’s crazy now because like my friends have become my closest thing. And I think for me, brands have always been my closest because I think when I was a younger, a lot of us had similar situations. So we like had each other older. It was like, I’m good at building relationships and caring for people.
And it was just like, I, I [00:23:00] found the right people and we became friends with them and it’s like, I still even, I have NB issues with those people and I’m 35 years old. I’m like, yo, I still look at you. Like, you’re so happy with your parents or these things are working out. my life isn’t terrible, but like, I I’ve went through so much continued grief it broke me.

Like I remember like when I first started going to therapy and I was like, there’s parts of my mind that I have like a great grasp on in terms of like, I feel this because of how I was raised or like I miss having these moms who don’t have parents around. But I think all of it like worked my brain for a long time where it was like, I’m just fucking broken.

[00:23:34] Gianna: How did you work through that?

[00:23:35] Sabir: I haven’t, to be honest, like I went through a long period of time where I was just like, all right, here’s this medication I’m taking and here’s me going to therapy. And then I did things, not like, it was just like, what was me, I’m big into fitness.

So let me get back into my fitness. Crank out some good work. Let me eat. Well, let me spend as much time with my family as I can that I do have spend time with my friends who like really love me. Like, I love people. Like I need to be around [00:24:00] people. I love being alone,

[00:24:02] Gianna: but me too, I’m an introverted extrovert.
Yeah. Love being around people, but I need that time alone.

[00:24:07] Sabir: So like, I, I think I threw myself into all those things.

[00:24:10] Gianna: That’s healthy. That’s a great way to go about it.

[00:24:13] Sabir: for a while it didn’t work though. Like, I think I was grasping at straws I don’t know. I think I started to come around like probably like a year or two ago I have more of a consistent way of like looking at therapy, looking at like my health side of it and like digging into my work and trying to be a good dad at the same time.
I was like, I can’t be so fucked up to where. My son has seen this purple person. And that’s what I, at one point I was like, I do not want to live anymore. And I was like, I can’t do that to

[00:24:38] Gianna: my son. Yeah. I feel that my experience with grief definitely changed when I had my daughter, because I don’t have the ability to just take days at a time to be in bed.
Right. Like you gotta get up, you got to show up for them. even just today, for example, yesterday, I had one of the most painful days in probably years that I’ve had about my dad. You know, it just comes up out of nowhere and [00:25:00] smacks you in the face. You’re well aware of this. Yeah. And this was one of those days yesterday.

And today when my eyes opened, all I wanted to do was stay in bed. But I said to myself, get up, take her out, go to the grocery store. Like you can do nothing but smile when I’m with her. And that for me is like my workout. That’s me going to the gym? You know, that’s the adrenaline or the, the endorphins for me is to be with her.
And I wonder what it was like for you, because my therapist actually had to get on me a little bit about it, because she was like, you can’t put this pressure on this child to fix you because after this feeling of being alone and having nothing left, I was grabbing onto her so hard to be my person again.

And that’s a lot of pressure for a child.

[00:25:47] Sabir: I was partially a different person for Hendrix when I was in like the deep depths of like my like depression. I was the person that got him betrayed for school.
I got up, I made breakfast, I got him dressed and I took them to school so [00:26:00] like I knew like he needs good energy and you just see like his people working as a good system.
But like, I think about like me having that for school, I never had that. I want him to learn like that. People love him so much. I want to be up with them and like help them get through the day. So I was like, I had to like train myself to be a different person. Yeah. And it was genuine because it helped me to like our square you’re you’re up.
You’re good. You’re going, but it’s so damn painful to be. I don’t feel like doing this. I don’t care what anybody feels like. I don’t want to move. Like, I don’t want to move it on with anything. I don’t care. I literally didn’t care. There was days I was like, all right,

[00:26:35] Gianna: whatever. Yeah. It’s really hard when you get into that phase too, because it’s like, that’s the only thing that feels good is just to be that fucking miserable.

[00:26:44] Sabir: We’re hurt for me on that too. Like outside of the family part, like work is a big thing for me. I love working because like, I love to create like, creating, like experiences, content, clothes, like energy vibes. Like I wanna cause I want every thing and everyone to feel good and [00:27:00] I didn’t feel like I could create anything there were times I would get up and I’m like, I don’t have the energy to take this picture or write this thing or do this. Or even think of an idea. I’m very good at like idea execution. I was like, my brain doesn’t even want to create ideas anymore. I was like, you should just die.

I was like, that’s how I felt. And I talk all the time the medicine level me out for a little bit. Then I was like, no, I’m like slightly lethargic. I don’t feel creative. I don’t feel cute anymore. I’m like, fuck. I’m like, I don’t, I don’t feel like I’m attractive to myself or my world, or I like, I’m a competent person.

People who deal with depression and grief and everything. At once I don’t know how we survived. Like something gets us through, especially like when you have a kid you’re like, you can not, not be there for your kid.

You can choose not to. My ex-wife is a great partner. Like she’s dope. And I think that was partially too. Like I knew I could depend on her for those things at times where I was like, I don’t have it. And like, and I can’t, it’s not like something that’s. Switch on and off. [00:28:00] I just like ran out. Don’t have it.
So I’ve got to find new coping mechanisms to like, get me through this shit or I don’t know how to

[00:28:05] Gianna: do. You said you’re feeling better. Do you feel better now? You got your creative juices back,

[00:28:12] Sabir: creating is easy. Now,

But if I’m not working and creating a mind, I’m not making

[00:28:18] Gianna: any money. Yeah. Yeah. I want to talk about how your grief may be affected your style.

I mean, we’re talking about these days and it’s like, you just don’t feel like getting out of bed. You don’t feel like doing anything and it’s so easy to just be in the sweat pant mode that like everybody else has found out about in the last two years with COVID, but with your dad’s lost in 2018 and mine in 2017, we kind of made it stylish before it was stylish.

you’re saying, you know, you lost some of your creativity. Did you find your style changing a little bit when you were in your dark days of grief or did getting dressed make you feel better?

[00:28:50] Sabir: Have you ever seen a movie? A single man. As directed by Tom Ford and the main character is Colin Firth.

Okay. So for Mike King speech [00:29:00] and it’s based on the book, but he is aligned in it. I’m going to butcher it, but he basically talks about like, even in my darkest times, I grit dress and I put on a suit and I’ve grown a box square and a tie. And I shine my shoes and I feel good about that moment of my day.
And I can, I can get me out the door and I have a lot of people talk to me cause like people see me on the street and I’m suited. People would recognize me if I’m not suited to when they see me like, yo, oh, your men style stopper. Like I love your suits. I love your style of that. And it’s one of those things where like I never get dressed with.
Like, I literally get dressed as like, I like the way this looks from your, I want to try this for me. So in those periods I would get up. I’m like, yo, you got to address. get up, get dressed and like show yourself that you can get up. That’s it. But it was literally, there were days like I would just lay in bed and like, or I would get up rush Hendricks to school and come back and lay back down. Yeah. Cause like being out was that painful? I felt like I was just like, [00:30:00] damn like,

[00:30:01] Gianna: oh my God, it’s such an energy suck.
You have no energy left. And then just to be out and put on a face and interact with humans.

[00:30:08] Sabir: Right. And I guess I felt that like point I’m drowning so much through like I would, and I’m happy.

I’m so thrilled that I haven’t been in like that drowning stage. Like I’ve woken up recently, like a couple of times where I’m like, oh, damn like I miss my mom or my dad, but it hasn’t hit me to a point where it was like, oh, I can’t do anything. Like my mom’s birthday was the 31st of January. And I remember last year, I was like, pause birthday. I like, I chill. I listened to like some of the songs that she would like, like love for my dad’s birthday.

[00:30:43] Sabir: Yeah. I just vibe out this past year. Like that whole day I was like, oh no.

[00:30:51] Gianna: Oh yeah.

[00:30:52] Sabir: But it was just more like, oh, I really miss my mom and I hoped you would be happy for me.

[00:30:56] Gianna: Right. I feel that some days [00:31:00] I can I’ll have a pulse on my grief just by realizing how I interact with some of my daily activities. One of which getting dressed, brushing my hair as weird as that sounds. If I look at picking up the brush and picking up the blow dryer as like an enormous task, that’s my cue to be like, You need to sit back, look at yourself for a second and say, what do I need?
Because this shouldn’t be a big deal. This should be like autopilot, right? Like you’ll wake up in the morning. You put your context and you brush your teeth,

[00:31:27] Sabir: voluntary things you should be able to do.

[00:31:28] Gianna: Totally. Yeah. So was there a time for you that you realized getting dressed? Wasn’t a matter of forcing yourself to do it and forcing yourself to look nice, but you were really just doing it because that’s what you did.

[00:31:42] Sabir: I want to say I’d probably never pinpointed it. The things that I even think about, but I can tell you there, now

[00:31:48] Sabir: I can just get dressed and it’s not about like, make yourself feel good. Yeah. Because like, for me, like getting dressed in style, It’s an art form for me. It’s, I’m looking at things that like, [00:32:00] oh, I, I love the texture of certain things that I’m wearing or certain colors and things.
I know, like I understand. And I hope people see, and they’re like, oh, that’s cool. Like, whatever. But like, when I was going through like getting dressed in a deep depression and grief, like getting dressed, like I was like, hoping like spirit, we can get dressed today. It’s gonna make you feel great. during like the beginning of the pandemic or maybe slightly before for awhile, I did mental health Mondays on my Instagram.

And I said, just do it like live and talk about like what I was feeling and like what people were going through. And I had a couple people come on and talk and things, and it was a good, it was really therapy for me. And I think people haven’t seen me talking about things like slightly, and I could tell people were concerned about things I was saying on the internet.

And I was like, all right, I need to like, be very open because I’m so open. And I want people to be, who’s going through this shit that I feel like they can do.

[00:32:49] Gianna: can

[00:32:51] Sabir: do. And like, I’m not like going, I’ve gone through it. I’m fine. I’m like, no, I’m going through it every day. Just like you are. And I’m just trying to be fine.

[00:32:58] Gianna: Were you surprised by the [00:33:00] response you got to that? Oh, it
[00:33:01] Sabir: was crazy. People were so into it and there were times when I didn’t do it and they were like, oh, you’re not doing it. Misses all the money. I was like, because I don’t fucking got it. I was like, I can’t do it. If I don’t got it. I was like, and I would tell people, I like, I don’t have it right now.
Or I’ll put like a message like, yo, I can’t do this today because I feel like this, I can’t. I was like,

[00:33:20] Gianna: That’s all you can do is be honest because that’s part of this, that’s part of the story. That’s part of the mental health part of it, you know, it’s weird. what do you want the public to know about grief and mental health as a male?
I mean, our society wants to say that women and females are the emotional ones and males can’t really have the hat or they’re, they’re looked at a certain way. What, what message do you want to convey about that?

[00:33:48] Sabir: I think it’s like so insensitive and archaic and weird that like, the message is still like, the messages is still bad
so if I was giving a message to anyone, it would be like, for a guy,[00:34:00] shit hurts. Tell wherever you’re whipped at, it hurts. Be real about it being vulnerable and understanding yourself will make it not seem so taboo because it’ll put you on past where you’re not going down like real dark shit.
Cause like you might be so emotional and insight and afraid to show someone that it puts you on the suicide watch. It might make you a violent person. If it’s your partner, things of that nature, like you should think of it as like a precautionary thing. Like, damn, I’m super emotional or I feel sad or I should be emotional or I love showing my emotions to like liking art or things like that.
People feel like they it’s too taboo. It’s not manly. It’s mainly for you to just know who you are and

[00:34:41] Gianna: the way you phrase that, understanding yourself and knowing kind of like the red flags of when you might need a little extra attention to yourself, might need a little help, might need to do something different so that you don’t get to the points that you were just explaining.
That’s that’s really good point

[00:34:55] Sabir: Like you’re a guy and like, damn you either, like you need to cry. Like I cry all the damn [00:35:00] time. Like you can cry either. Be more emotional. You can be more open with your partner that’s fine.
That’s good. Like, it’s good. Being emotional is good. That’s it. And understanding what that means. I know some days I’m just hyper emotional. Like I need to be there.
[00:35:18] Gianna: Yeah.

[00:35:20] Sabir: Like I came to like, let me suck that up real quick. Cause I don’t need people to know that I got emotions. I’m a person. Like, what the hell is that going to do to me?

[00:35:26] Gianna: when you just build it up, I would say, you can’t ignore it. It’s going to find you some way or other. So it’s either you let it out when it needs to go out and it’s, you know, controlled or it just builds up and it explodes until it’s something so terrible.

[00:35:41] Sabir: You or hurt yourself so much being tied down from like, not grieving in an open way.

Not that you don’t have to grieve for everyone, but like out releasing like, damn, are you going to fit? Like, you’d be by yourself. Like, you know, I’m hurting, I’m in pain. I miss my mom. I miss my, I miss my dog. I miss my, my whatever and saying it or [00:36:00] writing it or telling a therapist you grieving silently and not getting it out can lead to you being so.

The press and hurting everything around you.

[00:36:08] Gianna: Like everything. I appreciate your vulnerability here and, and sharing that with us. I wonder if you had any reactions from people that were maybe a little shocked to hear a male be so forthcoming with his emotions,

[00:36:23] Sabir: I have a ton of people, like way more than I expected specifically. Who were like in the fashion world and everything, people who I’ve worked with in the past and things of that nature are like, yo, I’ve been on the brink of suicide recently.

Like I needed to hear this or like my such and such, just passing my mom or my dad just passed. And like, I didn’t know how to handle this. And like, just hearing that and like, I let people like, yo hit me up. Just talk to me, what’s going on. what people forget is that people need people. So like as much as you’d like might have a significant other, if you’re not open with them, but someone that you like look up to or follow that you feel like you have like some kind of relationship with, [00:37:00] especially in like the social media era.

If they say something that peaks your interest or like they show how vulnerable their shit is. And you’re like, damn, I, I feel that. Or like, I never expected that from you because you look so polished and perfect. what I made myself do, if someone reached out to me and said something, I would ask them if they were okay, ‘

[00:37:17] Gianna: It’s just a reminder that everybody’s got something. Every single person, when you are vulnerable with people, you only invite them to be vulnerable back. And nine times out of 10, they’re going to be, cause they got their own shit going on. My husband says it all the time. Like I am the type of person.
Like I need to talk about my dad as much as I possibly can. It’s almost like, I don’t know if I need to like break that barrier and just like say it out loud because I feel so uncomfortable holding it in sometimes. And like so many times I’ll be like, oh yeah, well, like I lost my dad in 2017 and blah, blah, blah.

And people are like, oh, I lost my mom and whatever. Or, oh, this happened to me too. Or, oh yeah, this person I lost. And then you instantly just have a bond with them or you instantly just understand differently or you’re instantly just not alone. When [00:38:00] you put it out there. Other people are going to reciprocate.

[00:38:03] Sabir: I think a lot of people to feel like people don’t grieve. they’re afraid to say like their things. They’re like, oh my, my dad died. I can’t say that in public. Because like, ‘

[00:38:12] Gianna: cause, I don’t want to make other people feel uncomfortable, but you’re making yourself feel uncomfortable by holding it.

[00:38:18] Sabir: and sometimes I think I’m probably too open with them and just like, I feel like, but I’m like, it feels so good.
Like just let it out. Like you can, you can get a good read on people where it’s like, all right, we’re having this combo. We’re talking shit, whatever, whatever we’re talking about. And it feels right. And like, if you react weird, like it’s fine. Like, I can’t change that my dad died or did I said this to you.
We’re going to keep rocking like,

[00:38:43] Gianna: well, this is what I’m trying to change, right? It’s not our fault. It’s their fault. It’s society’s fault for not knowing how to handle it. So let’s have this podcast out there. Let’s have other messages out there so that when we, the people who are grieving need [00:39:00] to be able to let it out and need to be able to get that support from people it’s not looked down upon because it shouldn’t be, it’s a natural part of life.

This is happened. What do they say? Three things are guaranteed birth death. And the kitchen is always dirty. That’s it?

[00:39:16] Sabir: As much as we could get complicated. And like, we have all these ideas, like people are gonna think this about me. I’m going to feel this people forget.
Like we’re just people we all want to be loved. We all want to be liked. We all want to be touched. We all want to be understood. And like people think that like, grief is too intimate sometimes, but you’re, everyone’s openly grieving.

[00:39:37] Gianna: Yeah, it does. It feels like a very raw thing to let somebody in on. But you know, I’ve got to say, I can’t really think back on a situation where I shared my grief and then regretted it.

[00:39:51] Sabir: And that’s what people don’t think about. They’re like, damn, I’m going to share this. I’m going to be so broken. They’re going to think this about me and real, like, no one gives a damn about you. Like, no one really cares, [00:40:00] but until you, until they connect with you. So like, this is a connector, like I listen to people’s conversations about like random shit.

I’m like that wasn’t an important thing. Like whatever they were talking about, , if you have something that you’re grieving about, that’s important. So if someone’s going to listen to you about that, that that’s a thing. Like there’s so much random bullshit.
I’m like, what are you talking

[00:40:21] Gianna: about? Yeah. You’re wasting time. You’re wasting breath. This is useless.

[00:40:25] Sabir: so you’re afraid to not share your real shit, but you were sharing something like, well I got these, this hat and show. I’m like, what am I doing about

[00:40:32] Gianna: your hat? And to that point, it’s always, so like the thing that I love about the podcast is getting everyone else’s perspective or even the stuff I put out on social media.

And maybe you felt this way with mental health, Monday, people chiming in with their own thoughts, their own perspectives, their own opinions on their grief or their mental health. And so much of that has helped me look at my situation in a different way. So to be able to feel safe enough, to bring it up in those general conversations, you, as the person in that [00:41:00] conversation are hopefully learning about grief and then you and I, as the person grieving are, are inviting another person to, to give us their opinions on maybe how we can try something new to handle it or, or, or whatever it may be.

I mean, right. We are here as people to interact and to learn from each other. So why is grief any diff.

[00:41:20] Sabir: Yeah. You know, people don’t

[00:41:22] Gianna: want to hurt. I know. Well, guess what? That’s what this whole experiment a life is all about,

[00:41:29] Sabir: but we’ll be fine.

[00:41:30] Gianna: I mean, the highs aren’t going to be as high, if you don’t feel the lows.

[00:41:33] Sabir: It’s supposed to happen. Like nobody wants it to happen, but things are going to happen.
And like the way you react and how the world reacts around you and how your deal is, like, that’s the collective, like moving forward. Where we’re at in this conversation, it’s like our reef, how do you deal with it? How do you deal with it by like communicating with people? And if people want to like, really be on board, like dealing with their own shit too, they’ll be open about it.
And like, from the societal side, we were both [00:42:00] like, why can’t you understand? Grief is real. Like, this should happen. It’s like stop being so guarded about it. It’s like, it’s generational. Yeah. So it was now we’re at a point where we’re situations like this there’s podcasts about grief. There’s people who talking about it.
There’s celebrities talking about there’s all this stuff. And it’s like, oh, it’s real people go through this. oh, you just discovered that people died. Or like, it feels like,

[00:42:23] Gianna: have you ever connected, speaking of celebrities, I mean, have you ever seen, or did you have a moment where you saw a celebrity being open about their grief that impacted.

[00:42:34] Sabir: it’s going to be taboo because it’s fucking Kanye. But when when his mom died, like, I remember that moment. That hurt me big time because I, I saw his shift mentally and I was like, where he went is where I probably would have gone if I wasn’t a public spotlight at that level. Like I was in the spotlight, but I wasn’t, I wasn’t a global person global icon.
[00:43:00] So like seeing that happen, I was like, oh, I know what that feels like, because when my mom was around, I had that relationship that he had with his mother. It was like best friends. Like number one ride or die person is going to lift you up and like tell you about your bullshit. Even. I was like, she died when I was 11.
So from being born to 11, she put me on she’s like, this is what you need to do this week, blah, blah, blah. So seeing that real time. That like made me feel, make me feel two things. I felt sad. I felt so sad for him as a person, but I felt like validated as like a creative person and a human being that like where I felt crazy as hell is not just me.

[00:43:36] Gianna: Yeah. Right. Even the people who have everything are going through it. Yeah.

[00:43:42] Sabir: Because every bit of money in the world, everything, if you have a parent that you love to death, you lose that parent. You lose everything for a period of time. You are a fucking loss like it’s done. Yeah. That’s

[00:43:56] Gianna: it. to transition?
We’ll we’ll close out with some of the pop culture [00:44:00] things. This was a good segue with Kanye. If you had three dream clients that you could work with for their style, who would have.

[00:44:08] Sabir: Oh, all right. Here’s, I’m actually start with a woman because I love her style personally. And I saw a friend of mine. Who’s a photographer, was shooting her three weeks ago and I lost my shit.
I love Jenna Lyons. She used to be the creative director for J crew. She had a show recently on HBO called like something style in lions, but it was great. I think she’s probably the most stylish woman man Alliance. She’s great. I would love to personally style Adam Sandler.

[00:44:37] Gianna: Yes. I think he needs it,

[00:44:39] Sabir: but like, I think like the Adam Sandler style, I became like the big like deal over the last year.
Like his shit is natural basketball playing style is great, but I think if you saw like any part of uncut gems, we see slightly suited up. He could be like the person who could just be like the, you know, how was it like Steve [00:45:00] Carell, who like, as he got a little bit older, they’re suited up slightly casual suited here and there could be a good one, a third person to work with a dream client.
I don’t know if I’m worthy of working with them as a dream client. I would love to work with like a LeBron. Yeah. Just because of like the hype I’m like, I want to style someone like talks. Like I don’t do too much like personal styling. I’d be like, I’m going to host an event. I’m going to style part of the event.
That’s clothing focused. I do. I haven’t have done personal styling though. So it’s always interesting because people want to look like B and I’m like, why didn’t you to look like a part of me, but mostly.

[00:45:38] Gianna: Yeah. who in Hollywood do you think needs a total makeover,

[00:45:42] Sabir: total makeover, I should, I should’ve left Adam

[00:45:44] Gianna: Sandler for that, for that. I was going to say that would be a good one. We can say that to him

[00:45:49] Sabir: because I think like he, because he has like a, a real like natural swagger about him. That’s a real dude. Like, it doesn’t even have to be like super buttoned up just like little things, [00:46:00] but I’m also

[00:46:01] Gianna: like clothes that fit.
Maybe we could start there.

[00:46:04] Sabir: I can need direction of like some of young Hollywood, young like the music industry, like Tom Mann right now. He, whoever his stylist is, is like killing it for him right now because they’re understanding like, yo he’s young. He doesn’t have to be like like corporate suited, like, oh, we’re gonna put corduroy something.
We’re gonna throw him in. He’s like sexy cardigans. And I like that style would translate towards a lot of people because they think style, they think suit I’m like, oh, style is all clothes. It’s fit. It’s pattern. What’s your skin tone. That’s what’s going to work for you. So there’s a whole. I think there’s a style Renaissance.

[00:46:37] Gianna: I agree that it’s, everything is changing right now, but I L I love where it is. I feel like it’s so different. I think it’s fun. I think it has been impacted by these two years that we’ve been in COVID math, leisure has come back so big and things aren’t so serious anymore. And it’s it’s I like the way it’s heading.

[00:46:57] Sabir: Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s fun. It’s fun. It’s, it’s fun for me too. [00:47:00] Cause like I’m relearning some like sour things is like, it’s cool to see the shifts in style and lifestyle for

[00:47:06] Gianna: the world. What do you think is the next big trend that we should look at

[00:47:10] Sabir: next big trend? this is the first time that I’ve like looked at trends and none of them make cohesive sense. Like in the past you can be like, You’re going to have slim suiting come in like, but right now you look at it.
So, you know, the brand fear of God, it’s like baggy suiting and almost like a mix of what like Kanye was doing at Rick Owens wood was doing, but then you take Michael Bashin. Now who’s now the fashion director at Brooks brothers. You think Brooks brothers is like button up. He’s on preppy, but doing it sporty, I think the biggest trend is going to be that true hybrid.
Like a fluidity will continue to be. Everywhere. I think you’re going to see some like real good pockets though, of like people who were like men’s fashion, traditionalist, doing what they did, but like just tweaking it and make it like a little bit more of the time, but still exactly what they were doing.
And [00:48:00] people were like, oh man, I missed double breasted jackets, but someone did this with that. And I love even more. I missed wingtip shoes, but they made them chunky. So like here’s

[00:48:09] Gianna: a brand putting a new spin on the old banks.

[00:48:12] Sabir: I think this is going to be like the tweak culture, like taking things and slightly tweaking them,

[00:48:17] Gianna: tweak culture. I like that. You heard it here first. All right.
So we’re ending here on a little bit of a soft note, which I like. I mean, we started with a little bit of the fashion, went real deep and heavy. I absolutely loved this conversation that we have. I really like hearing your perspective on everything. You’re so welcome. Thank you so much for being here. I, I don’t know any, any closing words that you you have for anybody that might be really feeling it right now,

[00:48:47] Sabir: she will always be tough, no matter how happy you are, because you’re thinking about how tough it can.
It’s okay to feel that, but remember, like there’s a lot more in your life that you have control of that can make you happy or make you feel good. [00:49:00] Embrace those things. Embrace those people, embrace those moments and like, don’t feel bad for feeling good for yourself.

[00:49:07] Gianna: Love it. Wise words from men style pro severe.
PL thank you so much for being here. Really appreciate it.


All The Skies

There’s no magic pill that can take away the pain of grief
But there are some pretty, little things that can help