By: Angelica Grady
Anwar Alston Jr. was only 16 years old when he first came up with the idea for his clothing line Strive/Arrive on April 22, 2014. He said he remembers that day like it was yesterday when his inspiration came from playing around with a T-shirt making website out of curiosity. While making T-shirts using templates on a website called www.spreadshirt.com, Alston developed a strong interest in creating. He felt like stores never had what he liked when he would go shopping.
“I said one day I’m gonna make only stuff I like so it’ll be easier for me to actually wear it because I’m the one making it,” he said.
The beginning stage of Alston’s designing process was much different from his process now since Alston had to rely on websites (such as the one mentioned earlier) and reaching out to distributors. Now, he has the equipment and the resources, such as seamstresses, to help him make his own pieces. Although it took some time to get to that point, Alston eventually was able to get all his contacts within the same week.
“My technique and quality is way better than it used to be back then all because of the connects I have now,” he said.
Alston said that the main mission of the Strive/Arrive is to bring people together. Something Alston always tries to implement is a “family-oriented feel” into his fashion shows.
“Every time I have something, I treat it as a big family reunion just so everyone is happy,” he said. “So I base everything around happiness a lot, that’s my main thing,” he said.
His time spent as a young business owner in the industry of fashion has taught Alston some vital lessons in how to maneuver through it.
“It’s taught me to take my time to learn to pace myself,” he said.
Learning not to make money an issue, not to stress and to take his time with his product was essential in his success. When money may not be readily available for things he may need in production, Alston is resourceful enough to make it work.
“I’m really good at substituting stuff to make it look just as good,” he said.
As far as his future goals go, Alston has expressed that his “main goal is to have a big flagship store for one week.” He said this is something he hopes to accomplish within the next two years. To see and purchase Alston’s unique designs, visit his website www.strivearrive.com. Want to see his designs on the runway? Be sure to attend Strive/Arrive’s upcoming collaborative runway showcase with Lizzie Barnhardt, creator of the brand LEMON, on Dec. 29 at Studio 503, located at 503 E. Washington St. in Greensboro. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at www.strivelemon.eventbrite.com. Follow Alston on Instagram (@strivearrive) to keep in the loop and to see more of his fashion creations.