We caught up with Oscar Leal, the creative force behind menswear brand BELANCÉ to celebrate the launch of his second concept store in Sydney’s upcoming Barangaroo. With a keen eye for detail and fresh, modern approach to business Oscar shares his favourite International brands, wellness rituals, and his love for his hometown Mexico City.
Can you tell us about the inspiration and journey behind BELANCÉ?
I always wanted to have my own business, before BELANCÉ I felt there was a lack of freedom in my life, not only with my time but also creatively. My business partner and I were already involved in the industry, Theo as a distributor of a couple of overseas brands and myself as a buyer/business developer, so starting BELANCÉ felt natural. We noticed a gap in the market for accessories and Made-to-Measure suits in Sydney, and more specifically the combination of these two worlds in one location. Today BELANCÉ is the result of an organic process with a special focus on quality and individuality. We stock hard to find labels from all over the world and we also make perfectly tailored garments for different occasions.
Your Paddington boutique is a destination in itself. What drew you to the space?
I have always loved Paddington, I find it so inspiring, every wall, every house and street have a story to tell. The area also suited our selection of accessories and made to measure service. William st is a boutique destination, that allows the customer to relax and spend time knowing us and vice versa.
You’ve recently opened a second boutique in Barangaroo, can you tell us about the concept?
Well its basically the same as in Paddington, however we wanted to target a more corporate demographic. We wanted to create a store unlike any another in the city and at the same time to be closer to our customers during the weekdays. We think this area has a lot of future being Sydney’s newest neighbourhood.
You’re always discovering unique and emerging brands, can you share some of your favourites?
Well, I love every brand we stock at BELANCÉ. Every brand has their own amazing story, they have to meet some key requisites such as quality, design and uniqueness. Right now I absolutely love Masugana, their attention to detail is crazy, you can easily tell why they have been around for 116 years. Beyene’s another of my favourite, super comfortable sneakers that you can wear casually or with a suit. Another would have to be Bravur, a boutique Swedish designer making incredible watches in Switzerland.
How would you describe your morning routine?
To be completely honest I don’t have a morning routine, between BELANCÉ and my acting career it’s hard to have one, although sometimes I wish I did. After waking up I prepare my breakfast and I am ready to do anything.
Are there any wellness rituals you include in your lifestyle?
I try to exercise daily and try my best to prepare every meal I eat. When my schedule is busy I have a couple of great shakes, my favourite being: Kale, orange juice, green apple and banana all blended together. It’s great!
Where would we find you on a typical weekend in Sydney?
When I am in Sydney I go and hang out in the BELANCÉ stores on the weekends, its the best time to interact with our customers. I learn so much of what I have to improve/change by simply talking to people. At nights I love hanging out with friends, going out for dinner, and just go with the flow, best nights are always the ones you never plan!
You’re heading back to Mexico City soon, what do you love most about the city and culture?
Mexico city is spontaneous, colourful and their people are extremely friendly. With a population of 22 million people there are so many fun things to do in Mexico city like theatre plays, music festivals, art exhibitions, events. Also the city is really affordable and the food is absolutely amazing.
What are your top five wardrobe essentials?
White T shirt, Beyene sneakers, my Common Sweden leather jacket, my made to measure navy wool jacket and my Masunaga sunglasses.
What playlist are you listening to at the moment?
Right now I’m listening to HVOB, J-balvin and The NIghts, which is my good friends electronic band, based in Sydney.
What’s next for BELANCÉ? Are there any new products, projects or developments you can share?
There are so many things we are doing right now, for instance our design team is currently working on our own ready to wear collection, I am looking after the opening of our first overseas flagship store. I am also developing our first unisex perfume.