Law Roach, The Fashion Industry and Burn Out
Last Wednesday, after yet another successful round of styling a number of stars for the Oscars, celebrity stylist Law Roach announced his retirement. The announcement, a seemingly out of the blue Instagram post with a cryptic caption citing “politics, the lies and false narratives” as the reason for the early retirement, sent the fashion industry into a tailspin.
The stylist famous for dressing celebrities such as Celine Dion, Zendaya Coleman and Bella Hadid to name but a few, told press last week that the Instagram post wasn’t a PR stunt or a calculated move. Instead, it was a spur of the moment decision he made while in the back of a taxi. “I was riding in the car and I made a decision. I said: “You know what, I’ve done everything I wanted to do in this career…so that Instagram post wasn’t a PR stunt. It was really me giving myself the grace to say: It’s okay. You can do something else.”
Highly revered members of the fashion industry including British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, supermodel and entrepreneur Iman, fashion designer Bianca Saunders, supermodel Naomi Campbell and stylist Elizabeth Stewart; all echoed sentiments of upset at the news.
Speaking to Luke Leitch from Vogue Runway, he explained while he was definitely retiring from celebrity styling he was never retiring from fashion. Instead he would just be exploring different avenues.
From now on he wants to focus on pouring into his own cup, having a healthy work-life balance, thinking about his legacy, and the generation coming up behind him.
This pivot is a tale as old as time; when your passion, job and social life all interlink, it can be hard to separate your identity from your work. This often leads to your mental health suffering.
A talent such as Law Roach, in particular with his gift for storytelling through styling, is sure to be seen in any and every avenue of his work moving forward. While he gained industry respect and recognition for his styling work with Celine Dion, it was his work relationship turned friendship with Zendaya that made both him and Zendaya a household name.
While on the surface, it may seem that he simply put her in great looks, this was in fact a part of a greater plan to build Zendaya Coleman’s brand. In a 2021 interview with actress, producer and comedian Issa Rae, Coleman shared that her and Roach purposely curated looks that would put her on the best-dressed lists and gain media attention. After her career as a childhood star on Disney Channel, Coleman was struggling to secure acting roles that aligned with the trajectory of her career. Zendaya and Law Roach worked together to establish her as a fashion icon, to separate her from the Disney identity and have a positive impact on her acting career.
Now, Zendaya is the youngest person in history to win and the first black woman to win two Emmys for outstanding lead actress in a drama series and in 2021 became the youngest person ever to win the CFDA’s Fashion Icon Award. Then in 2022, Law Roach was also recognised by the CFDA, winning the first ever stylist of the year award.
Law Roach is well loved by his clients and yet, in light of the news many blamed Zendaya. A seating mix up caught on camera at the recent AW23 Louis Vuitton show and rumours of her signing a contract with LV were the epicentre of the blame. Roach quickly dispelled those rumours on Twitter, saying “She’s my little sister and it’s real love not the fake industry love.” Then in an interview with The Cut‘s Editor in Chief Lindsay Peoples, Roach went into further detail to absolutely absolve Zendaya of all scrutiny.
Law Roach started his new post celebrity styling era with a wind-swept, waterside runway debut at the Boss Spring 2023 ready to wear show, alongside Amber Valletta, Naomi Campbell, DJ Khaled, Pamela Anderson and other icons.
With his British Vogue contributing West Coast editor position, judging on HBO Max’s Legendary and the plethora of connections in the industry it’ll be exciting to see what Law does next.
Plus, hopefully we can all learn from him that retiring from one area to focus on both yourself and other avenues of your creativity is a sign of growth and not a sign of giving up.
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