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Josh Peas Interviews Anwar Carrots About Growing Up in Fairfax's Early Streetwear Scene, Getting Fired, and Starting His Own Brand

Josh Peas Interviews Anwar Carrots About Growing Up in Fairfax's Early Streetwear Scene, Getting Fired, and Starting His Own Brand

I don’t take trips down memory lane often, but it’s amazing to think that Anwar Carrots and I have been friends for over 10 years now. In conversation, I always refer to him as my partner because our working relationship was the perfect union. Two kids from different places, but with similar taste. Hip-hop is the real intersection of our relationship. Not only is it the music of our generation but it’s the culture that inspires us. From Gucci Mane Hood Affairs DVDs to Rocawear denim suits, hip-hop was the fuel that inspired us to make our mark on the world.

Since our departure from Peas and Carrots Intl., I always get the question, “When’s the last time you spoke to Anwar?” It always takes me aback, because we speak weekly and it sucks to think people saw our friendship as just a business venture. In the end, things fall apart but the passion, love, and respect is what stands the test of time. Recently, I sat down with Anwar to talk about his current business venture, Carrots By Anwar Carrots and his roots in Los Angeles streetwear.

Photo by Nate Garcia.

Josh Peas: Alright folks, Josh Peas here interviewing Anwar Carrots.

Anwar Carrots: Yes.

…While smoking on these Frenchie sticks. That’s what they call joints around my way.

Yes. With no tobacco.

Alright, so just gonna keep this real casual. Tell us about—what’s the mission statement for your brand? Or do you even have one?

I do not have a mission statement for the brand. Moreso mission statement is... pretty much explaining who I am and what I’ve done. And what I’m all about. Who I am: I’m Anwar Carrots, creative director of Carrots by Anwar Carrots, former co-founder of Peas & Carrots International. I’m a creative director and I specialize in simplicity, as far as design goes and creative direction.

That’s good, I actually like that. It’s funny that you mention Peas & Carrots, I mean, me being Peas, you being Carrots. How big of a piece of your story is Peas & Carrots? ‘Cause I find myself—

Bingo. I mean, it’s still PNCINTL [laughs]. Kind of funny in a sense, but hey, you see it’s still going. Now it’s just Peas and Carrots doing—Peas doing Peas, Carrots doing Carrots. It is what it is.

“It wasn’t even about fashion or music, shit, lifestyle—it’s California, living better.”

No, that’s a great way to think about it. That was really just a personal question that I wanted to answer ‘cause I always think about explaining my story to people and what I’ve been through.

It’s always gonna go to that. You can’t hide that shit at the end of the day it’s moreso, I guess, what did you do after you left and were you able to maintain what you were doing after Peas & Carrots International. So I guess that’s what matters the most is the growth—of everything we’ve been doing.

So tell us a little about the early days of Fairfax—even before Peas & Carrots. I would definitely say, even you more than me, is one of the founders of that Fairfax scene. So I think—give us a little bit of insight into why you chose Fairfax, why you were around there, what was it like when it was a scene actually?

I mean, first, even to start off, before even Fairfax, it was on Melrose and Fairfax... between Spaulding and Fairfax right at Teenage Millionaire.

Josh Peas and Anwar Carrots at the opening of Peas & Carrots in 2013.

Teenage Millionaire.

That was the start. But it was still connected to what we all loved and the reason why we doin’ this, which is Japanese streetwear AKA Pharrell AKA Nigo. And that shit—it was just like the Teenage Millionaire, the Diamond—it just had that same N.E.R.D. feel that was going on at the time and whatever, but for me it wasn’t N.E.R.D., it was just like a BAPE feel. It was like, oh these are tees I can get off style-wise for $10 a pop? [Scoffs] I’m gettin’ 10 of ‘em on Friday [laughs]. So it was that, but Fairfax was moreso a summertime thing. It was just somewhere to go for the summer that was away from shit—I mean, we from South Central. I moved out here, I was right there on Adams, 25th and 3rd Ave.

It was a gateway. So that whole area, between being on Fairfax, being on Beverly, being on 3rd Street. That whole Fairfax and 3rd Street shit was just—I don’t know, inspiring, to even see apartments over there, like shit I would wanna live over here. Cars motherfuckers was driving—you didn’t see that shit where niggas stayed. Like shit, I’m on 25th and 3rd, you was on King and Crenshaw. Dane in the Dons, fuckin’ Yori on Cherry.

We all in South Central, like gettin’ out of this space to become—I mean, to become or just live better or be better for yourself—by seeing other motherfuckers doing that same shit too. Thinking, Okay, if they can do this shit, I can do this shit too. It wasn’t even about fashion or music, shit, lifestyle—it’s California, living better.

That’s funny, ‘cause when I mention that to people they don’t get it. For me, it was just moreso being in a different area than home—in the neighborhood and being at home and being around all the squalor in the ghetto, for lack of a better word. So I mean, shit, Fairfax and just that area was you know…

Just fresh. Shit, you can go get gear here? Go to La Brea and get gear, go to Stussy, go to Union, Undefeated. It was just different. I’m ‘bout to go to the mall, go to Fox, Crenshaw, I mean we still did both. It was like the parallels of doing both, the juxtaposition—the hipster and hood shit, bringing the two together.

You mentioned Teenage Millionaire early on. What were some other brands you saw very early that attracted you to this area?

Mainly, I would say, number one was Stussy. One, because I walked in there just off the humbug on the regular to buy a T-shirt. I remember the lady too put me onto the shoot with Victoria or Virginia. She was like, “Yo, we love your look. Would you like to be in the Stussy lookbook?” I’m like, a lookbook? I didn’t know what the hell a lookbook was in 2006, so I said was like, well shit, sure, let’s do it. Did it. At the time I did that shoot, I met Peanut Butter Wolf, he was cool as shit. Mind you, I didn’t know who the fuck Peanut Butter Wolf was, I just thought this man name—he called hisself Peanut Butter. What type of white dude names himself Peanut Butter but whatever.

And then to find out later on who that guy is. And we did the shot also with Erin Wasson and Erin was a Victoria’s Secret model. I end up working with her boyfriend at the time, Yohan from Rogue Status. Finding out that the types of people I was around were doing great things. Their creative space was tight.

Oh yeah, early brands. So yeah, Stussy, Teenage Millionaire—Teenage just fell in there because of the $10 T-shirts, period. If that wasn’t around, whatever, I’d still be wearing what I was wearing, but $10 T-shirts, you couldn’t beat that.

@anwarcarrotsjp for @nytimesfashion live now 📰🥕📰

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