The BoF Podcast | Law Roach on Keeping Busy After Retirement



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Background:

As a self-styled “image architect,” Law Roach has earned global recognition for the red carpet looks he has created for some of the most famous — and most photographed — women in the world.

But in 2022, when he suddenly announced his retirement on Instagram, writing “If this business was just about the clothes I would do it for the rest of my life but unfortunately it’s not! The politics, the lies and false narratives finally got me! You win… I’m out.”

While Roach continues to work with top clients Celine Dion and Zendaya — he was the mastermind behind Zendaya’s tennis-inspired “Challengers” press tour earlier this year — he’s also pursuing his entrepreneurial ambitions. Later this year, he will launch a new online learning platform to train the next generation of stylists.

“It was hours and hours of me talking with a script writer and being recorded to get out all my processes, from the way I set up a room to style and the psychology of choosing the right dress. So it’s super comprehensive and I’m super proud of it. And we’re launching it with me as the very first instructor.”

This week, on the BoF Podcast, Roach joins me to trace his career right from the beginning when he was selling thrifted clothes from the trunk of his friend’s car in the South Side of Chicago and to exclusively share the details of his new online learning platform and what he hopes people will learn from it.

Key Insights:

  • Roach’s first memories of fashion are from his childhood in Chicago. “My first runway show was church on Sunday morning, watching those women with the hats and the outfits, but high fashion had always been something that was very aspirational but also seen very unattainable at the same time.” He then began his career selling vintage pieces from the trunk of a friend’s car before moving to a brick-and-mortar storefront. “That turned into a revenue stream for me and which then turned into a boutique, which turned into Kanye West coming in one day,” he said. That celebrity attention led to “global recognition about this little store in Chicago.”
  • Roach has worked with his most high-profile client, Zendaya, since she was a teenager. Back then, he had trouble finding brands that were willing to dress her, which forced him to get creative. “She became one of the best dressed, most looked at stars on the red carpets and had not even worn any of these brands. So at that point I was like, ‘I kind of don’t need you.’ We had just worked so hard to make her this thing that everybody wanted without using the traditional tools of getting there,” he shared.
  • With his new online learning platform, Roach wants to encourage greater representation and open up opportunities in the industry. “Ours is a comprehensive collegiate level, educational, educational coursework. Everything that I’ve used to become who I am is in there.”
  • Despite the various challenges in his career, Roach’s unwavering self-belief has carried him to where he is today. “No matter how many doors are closed, no matter how many times people ask me to get out of my seat at a fashion show, no matter how many times people say no, I came to L.A. to be considered the best or one of the best, and there was no way that anybody could deter me from that. I really, honestly believed in myself.”

Additional Resources:

  • The Business of Being Law Roach: The celebrity stylist has built a business that goes well beyond the red carpet, from magazine covers to judging reality television competitions and getting billionaires seated at couture shows. He spoke with BoF about his approach to building a multi-hyphenate empire.
  • Black Stylists Form Collective for Support and Advocacy: Co-founded by Law Roach, Jason Rembert, and Lacy Redway, The Black Fashion & Beauty Collective will serve as a kind of “black glam union” for behind-the-scenes creatives.
  • What Makes a Red Carpet Moment in 2024: The race to dress fashion’s biggest stars has gotten tighter — and brands are deploying fresh, social media-friendly tactics to generate buzz.



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