A few hours before the Boss show by the water – and waterlogged! – in downtown Miami tonight, Law Roach was working backstage. What he wasn’t doing, however, was his regular job – the job that made him one of fashion’s most visible and celebrated designers – as a celebrity and editorial stylist. Instead, he was in town walking as a model for the very first time.
It’s now been about 36 hours since Roach posted an Instagram post announcing his retirement, citing “politics and false narratives.” The news caused widespread consternation in the industry and also sparked a slew of unsubstantiated suggestions and questions as to why he decided: was it because he was sitting second row at a parade of fashion ? Had he jammed with one of the clients for whom his work has been so positively transformational? Has he completely left the industry? WTF? Instead of speculating vogue asked Roach to speak about his decision for himself.
Congratulations on your new career, you are about to make your modeling debut!
“Yes! I’m excited and nervous. And deeply grateful. I’m grateful that the Boss team sees me as more than just someone dressing all these amazing celebrities.
You’re the one in style today, not the other way around. It must be interesting because instead of telling the story, you are part of that story that someone else is telling…
“I release power and control. The good thing is. Because I’ve done it so many times, I get it. You know I’ll use Naomi [Campbell], which is also here tonight, as an example. When I’ve worked with her, it’s always, “What do you want me to wear?” She doesn’t walk into the room saying, “I’m going to wear this, this, and this.” That’s the professional in it. She’s always like, what do you want me to wear? What do you want me to do? So I learned that from people like Naomi and other legends and icons I work with – that you trust the professional and let them do their job. And so that’s what I came into this [Boss show] with: whatever you want, whatever you want me to wear, I have no opinion on that.
It must be liberating to relax that creative muscle you’ve been developing for 20 years…
“Twenty? I’m not that old! My age on the internet is all over the place, so no one really knows! But I consider myself working in this industry since I moved to LA. And I moved to Los Angeles in 2014 is where my career started.
Please accept my apologies for the terrible calculations! So it’s almost a decade. In your Instagram post, you used the word “retirement”, but what we see tonight is more like a transition?
“I’m not saying I’m retiring from fashion. I love fashion. I like business and I like to be creative. What I take away from is the style part of stardom: being of service and service to others. That’s why I’m retiring, yeah.
You were quite cryptic in your post, which created a void that a lot of love has since flowed into…
“Yeah, it’s been overwhelming the amount of love. Because I also work and live in a bubble, in which my customers are my priority, more than my own health and happiness. And, in my head, you know, I was doing this [making his statement of retirement] just to take the pressure off myself a bit, right? I was in the car and I made a decision. I said, “You know what, I did everything I wanted to do in this career. I got all the awards, accolades, changed people’s lives… And I just feel like, I had enough, You know? So this Instagram post was not a publicity stunt. It was really me who gave myself the grace to say: I’m fine. You can do something else.”
So a form of personal care?
“Yeah. And that stuff turned into this other thing that I wasn’t quite ready for. I got an outpouring of support and texts and DMs that I haven’t responded to yet because it’s It’s just overwhelming. Even fans say watching my work brings them joy. And people I’ve worked with were like, ‘No, you can’t leave because, you know, we love working. with you. And just all of those things… It’s beautiful. And that made me even more excited about today and working with Boss and them, which gave me the opportunity to be shown in a different light, you know?
As a stylist, you have this particular skill of colliding clients with garments in context, or in combination, which creates a catalyst for storytelling…
“Basically, and I say this all the time, I’m a storyteller. And I just use the clothes as words, don’t I? When I work with someone, and when I do an editorial, there has to be some kind of storytelling: I have to know what I’m trying to say, and I just use the clothes to do that. In the end, I’m nothing more than a storyteller.
Are you thinking about how to adapt this skill to another corner of fashion? It’s great to hear you’re not leaving the industry. And of course, you shouldn’t put work or customers ahead of your own well-being…
“If you’ve never had the experience of being a kid and going to bed hungry, you’ll never understand the reason why I work the way I work. I still wake up every morning with this heartbreaking feeling. that this can be over and I can go back to where I came from. And where I came from was nothing, you know? So that’s the reason why in my mind I felt like It was good to put me on the back burner for everyone. Because I feel like I have to work harder and be better than everyone else. And because I was that little boy who went to bed crying because that there just wasn’t enough food to fill me up. So that’s the bag I work with, you know? And everyone goes, ‘Well, you don’t have to think that way.” But if you’ve ever had that feeling, it never goes away.
It is a deep existential fear. So what you’re saying is that fear motivated you to become a workaholic to keep it from happening, and that this strategy itself created a negative consequence?
“Yeah. And when I made that decision yesterday, I took a step back and looked at my life and realized that I had nothing but this career. I don’t want this either legacy… So to answer your question, what I plan to do is something else. Like what I’m doing today with Boss. I also plan to teach: I want to get more involved with people who look like me and want to understand how to have the opportunity to do things that I have done, right?… I want this to be my legacy, a legacy that I really helped to changing people’s lives – not just celebrities’ lives by putting them in the best dress, you know?”
And there’s your television work. Plus we’re colleagues – you’re West Coast Editor of British vogue. So maybe we’ll see more of your work there?
“I’m trying to figure it all out, you know? It just happened yesterday. I’m introspective and talk to people I trust, like Edward [Enninful], and I just have to figure it out. But I’m so excited that today I get to release. The Boss team really supported me: sensitive and kind. I really appreciate that and it makes me want to do the best job I can on the track. »
So how do you deal with the challenge of walking the track?
“I don’t think I have any challenges. I’m a fucking diva! Even if they were to put me on a 10 inch high heel, I would walk this track. The little gay boy in me, I’m living a dream! The hair, the makeup, the look they chose for me: it’s literally a dream!
Immediately after what was to turn out to be an absolutely insane spectacle, Law shared the runway with models such as Pamela Anderson, DJ Khaled, Naomi Campbell, Khaby Lame and Precious Lee, all of whom were thoroughly drenched in the killer wetsuit. fountain background and high winds – we caught up with him backstage. So how did it go? Roach said, “For my first walk to be in a production as big as this, it was amazing. I have so much more respect for models: to be able to walk in these elements, in these puddles… In my head, I said to myself: “Think of Naomi. Think of Noémie. Think of NaomiAnd I think Naomi’s spirit and her presence here really hit it off. So that was good! That water was aggressive, but I think it was beautiful. tonight, so there aren’t many tracks you can’t master: the next chapter of Law Roach has begun.