Wilbur Pack Jr.
Fashion Designer, Bag Designer and Blogger
Interview with Wilbur Pack
Dhylles Davis: Who is Wilbur Pack Jr?
Wilbur Pack Jr.: Wilbur Pack, Jr. is a black gay man from Laurelton, Queens. I am a fashion designer, a bag designer, a blogger, a business owner, a man on a creative mission. I am a son, a brother, a husband, a godfather, an uncle, a confidante, and a friend.
Dhylles: When did you realize you were born an accomplishment?
Wilbur: When I was younger, I felt like I could do great things. I did well in school, was on the honor roll, and won academic awards, so I had a sense of accomplishment early on. But as I grew up, I lost that. The fear of the truth about my sexuality had a tremendous impact on me. I felt like I could not fully realize my dreams of accomplishment as a gay man. But once I began to release my fears about my sexuality and inadequacy, I was finally able to identify a possible career that I might love. Fashion is the air I breathe, the food I eat, and the language I speak. It makes me feel connected to my God purpose. Accomplishment, however, is always evolving and shifting and changing.
Dhylles: How long did it take you to accept your imperfections and what held you back from accepting?
Wilbur: There were no gay heroes to look up to when I was growing up. Now there are many. For a long time, I didn’t even know what gay was. But I could feel I was different. No one around me saw the world the way I did – at least, no one I knew of. When I was in college, maybe I was 19 or 20, I began to dip my toe in the “gay pool”. It was scary, but exciting and exhilarating. When I finally lost my virginity around 21 or 22, I knew what the deal was. Accepting my sexuality was difficult because there was a stigma associated with being gay and it was not something I envisioned for myself.
I am a Christian and it went against everything I had learned.
Because I am the eldest, I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to excel, to be the best son possible, to be perfect. At 47 years old, I still hold myself to a high standard and, sometimes when I don’t reach my goals, I still beat myself up about it. But I don’t do it nearly as often as I used to.
Dhylles: When you look in the mirror what do you see?
Wilbur: When I look in the mirror, I see someone who has not even begun to come close to reaching his goals. I have so much more I’d like to accomplish and I pray that God continues to give me the tools to make ALL my dreams come true.
Dhylles: What do you still feel you need to work on within yourself?
Wilbur: Patience is something I continue to work on. And it is a lesson that God teaches me constantly – daily. Self-acceptance is also something I could do better with. My shortcomings do not make me less of a person, but understanding them and not letting them frustrate me is important. Being a creative person requires you to be sensitive. But it sure would be nice to finally develop a thicker skin! LOL!
Dhylles: What does success mean to you?
Wilbur: My definition of success has evolved throughout my career. At first I thought, “If I could just put together a collection of fabulous designs and have a runway show, I would be successful.” When it happened, I thought, “If I could just get into newspapers, magazines, and on TV, I would be a success.” When that happened, I said to myself, “If I could just get onto a reality TV show, I’d be catapulted to stardom.” Although I got on 24 Hour Catwalk on Lifetime, I did not become a breakout star. When I finally had to turn my back on designing apparel because I was just SO deep in debt, I wondered how I was going to honor the gifts that God has given me. My sister offered to pay for a one day handbag workshop at LIM for me as a birthday gift. And a light bulb came on again. If I could finally see women carrying my bags and supporting my creative endeavors financially, then maybe my struggles would finally end. After nearly 18 years of pursuing my dreams, I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel. Financial stability is not so far off in the distance. And maybe soon, I’ll be able to take my husband on a dream vacation. That would be a wonderful byproduct of success.
Dhylles: Thanks so much for sharing and being open and transparent Wilbur!
Get Your Purse ON!