Q: How did you get into fashion?
I've always had a love for fashion whether I realized it or not. I was always taught that a career would never come from it so it was always nothing more than a thought in passing to me. I never explored it deeply until 2007, It was my first semester of college and there I was, like more than half of kids in college, having no idea what I wanted nor what I wanted to study. I knew succeeding in some sort of art career was of interest but sadly never had support to follow that route.
I was gearing up for the tail-end of the semester and I was a mess. I was not doing well because honestly I didn't want to be there, the traditional full-time college student thing was simply not working out for me. One day a friend of mine, who owned a small t shirt line, told me about his brand. His story began to motivate me and before I knew it I was completely hooked. I always wanted to start a clothing line and it had aways seemed SO unobtainable but for once I began to feel like branching out into the fashion realm was a possibility and soon to be reality.
We started working together selling his tees and trying to build brand recognition. I was loving it so much that I told him I would drop out of school and go to fashion school in order to get things really popin'. As it turns out, I was forced to be a college drop out sooner than expected and whether I wanted or not because I got kicked out of the dormitory. I left school, and had to deal with not only explaining to my parents/ family the drop-out situation but also tell them I no longer wanted to pursue a traditional career but instead break into fashion. Of course they weren't impressed and somehow I ended up "BS-ing" at Berkeley City College for a year. I enrolled into fashion classes at the College of Alameda and that's where I finally started learning. My family thought I was trying to hustle to complete my General Ed and transfer to UC berkeley, so I had to play along. After my second semester in Fashion, I was doing great and felt like I was on top of the world, everyone was showing me so much love! I quickly broke it to my parents that I was really pursuing fashion and just fashion but for them it meant "false dreams, bad reality".
But in modern terms…"YOLO"
After a couple of years of learning about pattern making, sewing techniques and illustrating, I was ready to finally break into the fashion industry launching my first brand in 2010. Things picked up quickly and before I knew it I had teamed up with Urban Outfitters to style my models and was holding fittings at their retail space with a $3,000 budget to borrow anything from them to style my brand. I was SO happy, I got voted "Best Emerging Fashion Designer" 6 months after launching my brand and after doing 8 fashion shows in a month. Everything simply fell into place and I couldn't be more happy with how my cards were drawn and played.
If I would compare my situation with another it would be with the athlete that was born into a sport. Baseball for example. The athlete's grandfather was a player, father was a player and now he was up and was destined to play for the major leagues. Then there's the guy who just found a bat, swung it and found himself in the major leagues.
I just swung that bat as hard as I could… and thats how I got into fashion, I fell into it.
-Carlos R. Juarez