For Anwar Carrots, there are no roadblocks; there are only opportunities.
Before the age of 30, the creative had already established a pair of successful fashion-focused labels. Eight years after he co-founded the popular streetwear label Peas & Carrots International, the fashion maven launched menswear brand Carrots by Anwar Carrots.
While serving his hungry fanbase apparel and accessories, Carrots also delivered mouth-watering kicks to consumers, collaborating with premier sneaker names including Puma, K-Swiss and Brooks (through its short-lived Heritage division).
Here, Carrots discusses why he considers being African-American an advantage in fashion and why he isn’t concerned with barriers.
What made you want to pursue a career in the shoe industry? And how did you break in?
“First and foremost, hip-hop as a culture [made me want to enter the fashion industry]. I’m all about complete outfits from head to toe when it comes to running a brand like mine — [the focus is] coordination. The opportunity came around in 2014 with Puma to do my first global sneaker with their classic Suede.”
Looking back on your career to this point, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
“Puma was a huge accomplishment for me. At that time when my shoe came out, no one took a chance on a non-athlete, non-retailer/boutique [or] non-pop star — but [Puma] decided to go with Mr. Carrots. Carrots as a brand wasn’t fully functional at the time. That was a very humbling experience and opportunity for someone like myself.”
What is the biggest challenge African-Americans face in the shoe industry?
“Biggest challenge from my point of view is picking the right silhouettes to work with that better suit you, your brand and the audience you want to target.”
“Let your work speak for itself and let the companies come to you. I can only mention what has worked for me.”
As a minority, what has been the biggest obstacle you faced in your career? How did you overcome it?
“To be honest, me being a minority is what I feel sets me apart from the rest.”
Why do you think that’s the case versus being an obstacle?
What specific steps should footwear companies take to make their teams more diverse? And what are some barriers of success?
“Hire real people who care about, live and breathe the culture as a whole. It’s really not that hard. [And the] only barriers in my opinion are a lack of care and a lack of knowledge of the footwear industry. Other than that, I see no other barriers that exist [for] all people — not just African-Americans. A great example of care and knowledge in one package of this world we speak of is [Social Status and A Ma Maniére owner] James Whitner. Go do your homework on him — blueprint.”
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