Happy 30th Birthday Candice Carter! 

Happy Valentine’s Day!
Today is so sweet (no pun intended) because I get to put my dope friend Candice Carter on the spotlight for her 30th birthday! I am so thankful to have a friend who has my back no matter what, who tells me the God honest TRUTH even if it gets me heated at first (lol!), who is just a genuine all around person& who pushes me into the person that God wants me to be. So for that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart Carter {insert smile.. now laugh out loud!} .

So, it’s time to enter into the mind of Carter- the fashion designer. Her focus is something that I’ve always admired. She just gets stuff done man! Her style has always caught my eye.

Carter inspires me to get back into my sketches. If you follow her on Instagram {candicecarter3c}, you will always see her video clips of her sketching figures with her clothing designs. I’ve always wanted to learn how to sketch figures freely. I don’t know what the problem is with me, but I can’t seem to get the proportions right lol! Well, at least not yet that is…

Getting back to Carter, I wanted to share an interview I had with her while she was on her trip in Paris! I was so excited to not only pick her brain a bit, but to hear stories of her traveling to a place that is full of fashion inspiration! So sit back and relax with a cup of herbal tea while we get into this interview with my favorite fashion designer.

Interview with the one and only Candice Carter:

LaShona: At what age did you know you wanted to become a fashion designer?
Carter: Like most things in my life I just fell into it. Majority of my childhood my mother was single with 2 children, so we didn’t have a lot of money. I wore a lot of hand-me-downs from my cousin and brother (both boys) and wanted things I saw in stores, so I’d change things to look the way I wanted them to. Eventually I started to make full pieces for myself. 

When I was about 22, I had a model friend that submitted me to do a fashion show and up to that point I had only made things for myself. After that I started seeking out people to shadow who were already designing and the rest is still being written…

LaShona: How would you describe your personal style?
Carter: My style is ever evolving. I used to purposefully wear things that were eye catching, like huge skirts with trains on a Tuesday or lime green with polka dots, but now I go for simple classic silhouettes in neutral palettes of grey, black and white. The more i put into my designs the less I want to think about myself. 

LaShona: How do you handle stress?

Carter: Honestly it changes over time. The constant in dealing with stress for me is making sure I prioritize life. It’s so important I never let small things dominate my thought life. When I look at life and see how far I’ve come and how many people outside myself have sacrificed for me to just be here, it keeps things in perspective. I also listen to a lot of music and more so when I’m stressed out. 

LaShona: How do you choose your makeup artist for your models?

Carter: Everything in this industry is about relationships. When it comes to makeup artists I usually try to build relationships. When I see work I like I make sure I reach out even if only to express how much enjoy the output. It’s so important that personalities and work ethics line up with whoever I work with because I work hard and I ask ALOT out of my team, so I have to be connected with people who understand the bigger picture. I choose models based on how well they inspire me. If you attract me to stare, odds are I’m dressing you in my head. The models I use over and over are the ones I’m drawn to sketch and draw like little paper dolls. It’s instinctual, you don’t have to be a “model” to work with my brand, but you do have to inspire me and fit into the brand DNA. 

LaShona: What was one challenge you faced last year in your career & how did you overcome it?

Carter: My last challenge was actually about a 3-4 year long process. I was so uninspired and I really wanted to quit fashion all together. My dad dying really changed who I was internally and I just didn’t love any of the things I used to anymore. I felt so alone because a lot of the characteristics that made me successful came from him. None of my collections were good or well made, and I just wanted to hide because i just felt like I couldn’t do it. The more I tried to quit the more my friends and family intervened to beg me to re-think my decision. 

I actually took a 2 year break and got a corporate job and started to just walk a different path with no pressure on myself to be “designer Carter”, I was just Candice and it was nice. But i truly believe everything I’ve done is bigger than me and my wants. Even during my break I was still drawn to fashion and nothing gave me more joy than watching and drawing designer clothes (even if they weren’t mine). 

I think that break allowed me to miss fashion and realize it is meant to be my life’s narrative. And after I no longer had the cooperate job I took every penny I had and got help from my mom and started an inspiration journey to refill and that’s where I am today…

LaShona: What are some things you like outside of fashion?

Carter: I love cooking and video editing. I spend a lot of my free time doing both those things. 

LaShona: What do you enjoy most about being in the fashion industry?

Carter: I love that it is tough. The industry has forced me to love what I love even if no one agrees. I can stand alone confidently because i trust myself and I don’t think any other industry creates confidence in quite the same way. 

LaShona: What is a typical day like for you?

Carter: No day is typical, but I do have a general routine:

I usually walk, feed my dogs and check emails & social media. 

Then I will look at my calendar for upcoming deadlines and begin to prioritize my day.

If I have clients, I confirm appointments and then I work on the orders that need work that day. I fit in food and intermittent dog walks and social media posts. I usually talk to my mom and other friends towards the end of my day and then I’ll make time to listen to music and sketch to keep the inspiration flowing while removing old ideas. 

LaShona: How long does it take to prepare for a fashion show?

Carter: It depends. I like to have 4 or more months to prepare, but I’ve had as little a a week before and got it done. The actual organizing and finishing touches usually require about 1-2 weeks for me to feel properly prepared, however, as my shows get larger I need more time. 

LaShona: Who do you look up to as an artist?

Carter: I think Jay-Z has been the artist I’m most drawn to. His life’s work is more than his art and he is unapologetic in his process and what he creates. I strive to be more like that everyday. 

LaShona: What are your favorite fabric choices & colors?

Carter: I love denim. It has become a favorite fabric in the past few years. I also love fabrics that flow like water. 

LaShona: During your trip to Paris, how was the clothing style different from the style in Oklahoma?

Carter: The people there buy quality. There are not many people walking around in cheap items. Fashion doesn’t classify social status. It’s so cool because they buy into the history of a brand, so people buy Chanel because it’s iconic and for the quality. Everything is clean and minimal or very special and luxurious, there is really no middle ground. I have taken that approach to my dressing lately (even before Paris) and I have loved my new style. 

LaShona: What is one big goal you wish to accomplish at the age of 30?

Carter: I’m more focused on the decade of my 30’s, but I just want to expand my brand and actually share some of the things I have been keeping to myself for years. I plan to travel the world more. I’d love to design for a tour and make it to the Forbes 40 under 40 list. Huge goals right?

LaShona: What advice do you have for someone reading this blog who may have an interest in fashion?

Carter: Take the time to learn yourself. Your real self. You spend more time alone than with people in this industry and you have to be able to be honest with yourself because the accolades and success comes and goes. And once you know yourself, learn the history of fashion. You cannot expect to contribute to an industry you don’t properly understand. 

Can you say oh my gee?!!! Ahhh!!! Talk about an inspiration! I hope Carter inspired you as much as she inspires me. When she becomes a famous designer, you already know her name will be up on this blog again lol! I’m excited for the day when I attend one (or more) of her fashion shows while she’s on tour!

Happy Birthday Carter!! 

To stay in the loop with Candice, go to: www.candicecarter.com
Until next time, “laugh hard, love harder, capture each moment & sprinkle a little joy in someone else’s life.” – XO Shona~

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