A few hours before Boss’s waterside – and waterlogged! – show in downtown Miami this evening, Law Roach was backstage, working. What he wasn’t doing, however, was his usual job – the job that has made him one of the most visible and celebrated creatives in fashion – as a celebrity and editorial stylist. Instead he was in town to walk as a model for the very first time.
It’s currently around 36 hours since Roach dropped an Instagram post announcing his retirement, citing “politics and false narratives”. The news sparked widespread dismay across the industry and also prompted a slew of unsubstantiated suggestions and questions as to what might be the reason for his decision: Was it because he was seated second row at a fashion show? Had he had a beef with one of the clients for whom his work has been so positively transformational? Was he quitting the industry entirely? WTF? Instead of speculating, Vogue asked Roach to speak about his decision for himself.
Congratulations on your new career – you’re about to make your debut as a runway model!
“Yes! I am excited and nervous. And deeply grateful. I’m grateful that the Boss team sees me as more than just someone who dresses all these amazing celebrities.”
You are the one being styled today, not vice-versa. That must be interesting because instead of telling the story, you are part of that story that someone else is telling…
“I’m releasing the power and the control. Which is fine. Because I’ve done it so many times, I understand. You know, I’ll use Naomi [Campbell], who’s here tonight as well, as an example. When I’ve worked with her, it’s always: “What do you want me to wear?” She doesn’t come into the room saying: “I’m gonna wear this, this and this.” It’s the professional in her. She’s always like, what do you want me to wear? What do you want me to do? So I picked that up from people like Naomi and other legends and icons I work with – that you trust the professional and you 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 opinions about it at all.”
It must feel liberating to relax that creative muscle you have been flexing for 20 years…
“Twenty years? I’m not that old! My age on the internet is all over the place, so no one really knows! But I count me working in this industry as beginning from when I moved to LA. And I moved to LA in 2014 – that’s when my career started.”
Please accept my apologies for the terrible math! So that’s nigh on a decade. In your Instagram post you used the word ‘retire,’ but what we’re seeing tonight feels more like a transition?
“I’m not saying I’m retiring from fashion. I love fashion. I love the businesses and I love being creative. What I’m retiring from is the celebrity styling part of it: The being in service and at service of other people. That’s what I’m retiring from, yeah.”
You were quite enigmatic in your post, which created a vacuum into which a lot of love has since flooded…
“Yeah, it’s been overwhelming the amount of love. Because I also work and live in a bubble, in which my clients are my priority, more so than my own health and happiness. And, in my mind, you know, I was doing this [making his statement of retirement] just to relieve some pressure for myself, right? 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. I’ve received all the awards, the accolades, I’ve changed people’s lives…And I just feel like, I’ve had enough, you know? 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.”
So a form of self-care?
“Yeah. And that kind of became this other thing that I wasn’t quite ready for. I have had an outpouring of support, text messages and DMs that I haven’t gotten back to yet because it’s just overwhelming. Even fans saying that watching my work brings them joy. And people I’ve worked with like: “No, you can’t leave because, you know, we love working with you.” And just all these things… It’s beautiful. And it made me even more excited about today and working with Boss and them giving me an opportunity to to be shown in a different light, you know?”