MADE: How Kenneth Anand made a career in sneaker law

PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT THERE’S SUCH THING AS HAVING IT “MADE.” THIS SERIES TAKES US TO THE GRIND, PERSISTENCE, AND DEDICATION IT TAKES TO PREPARE FOR THE RIGHT CAREER OPPORTUNITIES. 

Not all career pathways are the same. What we see as overnight success on social media are archived years of preparation before meeting that opportunity. There are no shortcuts to studying, obtaining a law degree, or passing the bar. Each year of experience counts in building a career in law. Kenneth Anand took a traditional pathway in practicing law and dedicated years to a law firm. Then, he used his experience to understand sneakers and fashion. This led to creating a law firm representing creatives and designers who drive those industries.

Fifteen years were under Kenneth’s belt before being aligned with an opportunity to be the General Counsel for Yeezy, Kanye West’s clothing and sneaker line. He created his own lane, year by year, which led him to a dream opportunity. Today, he is a lawyer, author, consultant, and business owner of streetwear brands like JustDon and 424 Fairfax. To celebrate the launch of the newest module in Sneaker Essentials featuring contributors Kenneth Anand and Jared Goldstein, Kenneth speaks with Yellowbrick about the different milestones he experienced in his career and how they led to creating Sneaker Law.

Sneaker culture is all about being your true self. And so we wanted to create something that embodied what that was about in education.

As a novice…

Having a strong interest in sneakers as a kid, it was a wrap when Kenneth discovered Jordans. Turned sneakerhead at only seven years old, he dreamt about wearing coveted sneakers and building his collection. It wasn’t until several years later when his parents gifted him his first pair of Jordans. He was hooked from then on. Over the years, Kenneth was a sneaker collector and always looked towards a career in sneaker law. He took the necessary steps and a traditional pathway, graduating from Brooklyn Law school and practicing employment law.  

As an expert…

Day-by-day, Kenneth put on a suit and stepped into the courtroom arguing cases in state and federal courts. After years of pursuing employment law, Kenneth started his law firm and developed clients in the creative space. He began to represent sneaker designers and brands, offering cost-effective representation across the employment, IP and entertainment fields. Then, Kenneth realized how much more time he wanted to devote to supporting streetwear, fashion, and sneaker brands through law. 

Kenneth Anand, co-creator of Sneaker Law
Kenneth Anand is a Sneaker Essentials contributor for Module 7, Sneaker Law. Source: Miami School of Law

The opportunity…

In 2017, Kanye West’s sneaker and fashion line, Yeezy, offered Kenneth a General Counsel role. And for two and a half years, he dedicated himself as their head lawyer. This role turned into Head of Business Development, in which he spearheaded developing new and existing lines of business. When speaking about his time at Yeezy, Kenneth recalls, “as somebody that grew up loving sneakers and hip hop and fashion, this was the perfect storm job for me. It was probably the most hyped I’ve ever been in my career.” While it took 15 years for Kenneth to work hard, arguing court cases routinely, it prepared him for Yeezy. 

As somebody that grew up loving sneakers and hip hop and fashion, this was the perfect storm job for me. It was probably the most hyped I’ve ever been in my career.

As notorious as the opportunity and time at Yeezy, Kenneth didn’t stop there. He returned to school to get his Executive MBA in Business. This helped him expand his knowledge, and support his next step in his career before Sneaker Law. After leaving Yeezy, Kenneth co-founded 3 8 0 Group, a fashion licensing company specializing in manufacturing and distributing premium apparel, footwear, and accessories. 3 8 0 group currently owns the licenses to leading streetwear brands such as JustDon, 424 Fairfax, MSFTSrep, and Bel-Air Athletics. Kenneth is also an advisor and consultant to many sneaker companies answering questions around the sneaker business and law.

The creation of Sneaker Law…

When Kenneth met Jared Goldstein, a legal intern for Complex who contributed articles around sneaker law, they began to think of ways to collaborate. As a result, they started the four-year-long process of writing Sneaker Law. A textbook that explains the facets of the sneaker business, Sneaker Law is the first book of its kind. It was important for Kenneth to create something that embodied the culture. Sneaker Law is a book for people to learn and understand the sneaker business. “I felt like [Jared and me] didn’t fit in [law school]. Sneaker culture is all about being your true self. And so we wanted to create something that embodied what that was about in education.”

Sneaker Law inspires courses around the subject matter in colleges and universities. University of Miami Law School, Georgia State, Parsons, and Rutgers use Sneaker Law as an official reading requirement. With FIT and Complex, Yellowbrick has added a new module into our Sneaker Essentials course, Sneaker Law. This module covers the sneaker business, intellectual property, and considerations when making a sneaker deal. Check out our Sneaker Essentials course to get a comprehensive overview of the sneaker industry and sneaker business.

Want to explore becoming a sneaker lawyer or other careers within the sneaker industry and how to get started? Explore our Ultimate Sneaker Career Guide.

MADE: How Jared Goldstein made a career in sneaker law

PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT THERE’S SUCH THING AS HAVING IT “MADE.” THIS SERIES TAKES US TO THE GRIND, PERSISTENCE, AND DEDICATION IT TAKES TO PREPARE FOR DREAM OPPORTUNITIES. 

When thinking about attending law school, you usually wouldn’t correlate sneakers with it. But Jared Goldstein always had a vision for meshing his passion and love for sneakers. He paired this alongside his interest and intellectual curiosity for the law. Jared found a way to make his dream come true with relentless passion and application. Once a sneakerhead and reseller, Jared is now a lawyer and co-author of Sneaker Law — the first textbook made to teach the sneaker business. 

Before Sneaker Law, Jared put in years towards school. He deepened his knowledge of sneakers and the law. Then, he applied himself with a viable internship at Complex before landing the right opportunity. To celebrate the launch of the newest module in Sneaker Essentials featuring contributors Jared Goldstein and Kenneth Anand, Jared speaks with Yellowbrick about the different milestones he experienced in his career and how they led to creating Sneaker Law.

To that date, nobody has ever written about the lack of legal protection for sneaker designs. So, with extreme passion, Jared wrote over 40 pages of explicit legal content around sneaker designs.

JARED GOLDSTEIN

As a novice…

Jared instantly saw himself as a sneakerhead when he heard Nelly’s 2002 hit, Air Force Ones. To explore his newfound obsession, Jared read Complex’s now-defunct print magazine, specifically articles by Joe La Puma.

He knew at eight years old that he wanted to fuse his passion for sneakers and the law but didn’t exactly know the pathway to do so. The usual track was to work in-house for a sneaker company or a law firm that represented a sneaker brand — both limited with opportunities taking years and even sometimes a lifetime to achieve. Millennials and Gen Z expect rapid progression in their careers. 

According to research by PWC, millennials hold particular characteristics such as “ambition and desire to keep learning and move quickly upwards. . . as well as their willingness to move on quickly if their expectations are not being met.” In addition, like with Gen Z today, creative achievers want to feel their work is worthwhile and that their efforts are recognized — and fast. 

During law school, Jared researched and discovered law reviews, scholarly journals, or periodicals that focus on various legal issues. One of the requirements to become a law review member is to make a note (or a thesis) that is unique and has never been written before. After submitting your note, it’s judged before a panel to determine if it will be published in the journal. 

Jared saw this as an opportunity for his career in sneaker law. To that date, nobody has ever written about the lack of legal protection for sneaker designs. So, with extreme passion, Jared wrote over 40 pages of explicit legal content around sneaker designs. Proud of his work, Jared submitted his note. However, the panel rejected it. Upset, he went back to the drawing board to figure out his next steps.

As an expert…

Just a short time after his rejection with the law review, Jared landed an internship at Complex as a legal intern. After years of reading Joe La Puma’s articles and following his career, he couldn’t believe that he was in the same office as him. Landing this dream internship was a pivotal moment. With a stroke of inspiration, he came up with an idea. He would use the opportunity at Complex as an avenue to get his law review note out to the world. Jared pinpointed the missing gap in the sneaker industry. He knew his 40-pages of legal content was valuable information for the sneaker industry. 

While fulfilling his duties as a legal intern, Jared pitched his idea to Complex Sneakers Editor, Matthew Welty. Matthew loved the idea and proposed a new challenge for Jared — turning 30,000 words of legal language into 1,000 words for sneaker aficionados alike. After a couple of all-nighters, Jared completed a 1,000-word piece, “Here’s What Happens When a Brand Gets Sued for Ripping Off a Sneaker Design.” After that, he wrote a couple of more articles for Complex about legal areas around shoe design and sneakers. 

Jared Goldstein. Sneaker Essentials conributor
Jared Goldstein joins Sneaker Essentials as a contributor to Module 7, Sneaker Law.

Sneaker Law opportunity…

Sneakerheads and industry professionals consume your work when published in a massive media platform like Complex. And Kenneth Anand (previously General Counsel for Yeezy Apparel) was one of them. At the time, Kenneth was a partner for a law firm and reached out to Jared to meet him. They met at an Au Bon Pain, where they talked for hours and hours at length about sneakers. Jared couldn’t believe that he had met someone with similar interests who also practices law. He became inspired by Kenneth and wanted a career like his — to rock sneakers to work and practice law that he’s passionate about. 

They began thinking of ways to collaborate, including writing law articles around the subject matter of sneakers and the law. Instead, they found an opportunity to write a book together about the many facets of the sneaker industry. On the side of building their law careers, they worked together for four years on what would become Sneaker Law.

But the opportunity doesn’t stop there. Adopted as an official textbook for colleges for University of Miami Law School, Georgia State, Parsons, and Rutgers, Sneaker Law inspires sneaker law courses. Kenneth Anand and Jared Goldstein have also been invited to lecture at Harvard. They continue developing their retail strategy to get Sneaker Law into the hands of sneakerheads, creatives, entrepreneurs, and law professionals. With FIT and Complex, Yellowbrick has added a new module into our Sneaker Essentials course, Sneaker Law. This module covers sneaker business, company structures, intellectual property, and understanding sneaker deals. Check out our Sneaker Essentials course to get a comprehensive overview of the sneaker industry and sneaker business.

Interested in careers like corporate sneaker lawyer and how to get started? Explore our Ultimate Sneaker Career Guide.

Success in Streetwear According to Jeff Staple

Success is a term and topic that weighs on Gen Z. Their inherent desire for success is accompanied by a weight of expectations. Despite generally having a success-oriented mindset, Gen Zers experience extreme pressure to be successful and a need to be perfect. Streetwear has a primary youth audience, mostly under 25 years old. And a point of wonder when it comes to starting a streetwear brand is how to measure its success. Does this look like going viral? Selling out a product in minutes? Is it getting someone influential to recognize or wear your brand? 

What makes a designer or brand have success in streetwear?

The streetwear market is volatile and saturated like a modern-day version of garage bands. Many falter, and few survive to make it in the mainstream. Some brands become a viral success with a signature design (CC: Anti Social Social Club). However, some have taken years to carve out their brand story and lane. Take, for example, Staple Pigeon, a lifestyle brand started by Jeff Staple. He’s also built his career by making history with the Staple Pigeon Dunk, hosting Hypebeast Radio’s podcast Business of HYPE, among hundreds of collaborations — making him a household name within streetwear. 

Jeff Staple, Streetwear Essentials contributor
What makes a streetwear brand successful? Jeff Staple shares his advice.

Now a contributor at Parsons x Complex’s Streetwear Essentials course, Jeff imparts his teachings and wisdom to the next generation of streetwear designers. What makes a designer or brand have success in streetwear? And how do you balance creativity with business? During a virtual fireside chat featuring Jeff Staple and Aria Hughes, Jeff was asked about achieving success from a current Sneaker Essentials student:

Regarding success in streetwear:

For up-and-coming brands, every designer wants to take their brand to the next level. But often, you feel as if you’re hitting the ceiling. So what’s a good tip to break through and hit the level of success you want to achieve?

Immediately Jeff Staple looked exasperated and replied, “that question — there’s so much pressure involved. I felt anxiety just hearing that question because there are two ways of thinking about it if you’re a creative artist.”

Just as success varies from person to person, this goal is influenced by the type of creative you are. Jeff says, “There are two types of creatives: one who wants to create and tell their story, and one who is more data-driven and considers trends, numbers, etc., when making.” For new designers, Jeff challenges how you determine success with “what the question sounds like.”

If a designer focuses on numbers, quotas, followers — metrics, in general, they operate on the challenge of growth. “It could be money, followers, views, likes — it could be any metric. But, if we did $1,000 this month, how do we do $2,000 next month?” Jeff breaks down. So, again, it’s about asking how a business can double its effort for the future.  

There are two types of creatives: one who wants to create and tell their story, and one who is more data-driven and considers trends, numbers, etc., when making. – Jeff Staple

Jeff isn’t that type of designer. He’s the designer that focuses on the product and story. With no account for performance, they operate on execution and the final product. This question could look like, “what’s the story I’m telling in my collection, or how many designs or products are in the next drop?” He advises that “in the beginning, the number one priority should be that your voice and message are pure.” 

Protecting the pure, unfiltered creativity will not only free someone from the pressure to perform but helps discover who you are as a designer, what your brand is about, and who it’s for. The more you can identify these three things, the more you can understand how to make the data or numbers work for you. “In the beginning, the priority for new or up-and-coming designers is to protect the creative process,” Jeff concludes. Then, once you begin to tell your story and understand the community you’re building, you can tap into the business side. 

Complex alongside Sneaker Essentials hosted an exclusive virtual fireside chat featuring Jeff Staple. Hosted by Aria Hughes, the hour and a half conversation dived deep into the streetwear industry from topics such as design, marketing and branding, retail and distribution, and entrepreneurship. Access Jeff Staple’s top tips for new streetwear designers here.