On a seemingly regular Tuesday afternoon, a simply stated yet scathing Instagram post altered the course of modern fashion as we know it.
On March 14, the fashion industry bid adieu to the celebrity styling career of Law Roach, the self-declared “Image Architect”, who announced his retirement from the fashion industry with a casually-to-the-point Instagram post.
“If this business was just about the clothes,” the stylist wrote, “ 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.”
The fashion icon has styled numerous “A-List” celebrities, including Hunter Schafer, Megan the Stallion, Priyanka Chopra, and his most notable and routine muse, Zendaya.
Roach’s styling career began with the launch of his vintage clothing shop, “Deliciously Vintage”, which garnered sizeable local praise, according to The Business of Fashion. However, when hip-hop mogul and Chicago native, Kanye West, publicly browsed the store, Roach received national acclaim.
In 2011, when Zendaya was just 14 years old, Roach was tasked with styling the Disney star for Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never” movie premiere. From that moment forward, the pair has been turning heads on the red carpet, front pages of magazines, and on the big screen, where Law Roach styled Zendaya for the film “Malcolm and Marie.”
Roach is recognized for his exceptional styling technique, particularly on the red carpet. He distinguishes himself from others in the industry by fearlessly taking bold fashion risks, and seamlessly blending elegance with experimentation.
Law Roach’s impact on fashion earned him extensive mainstream acknowledgment in the style landscape at-large. On November 7, 2022, Roach received the Inaugural Stylist Award at the 2022 CFDA Fashion Awards, an esteemed ceremony that honors American fashion. Commonly nicknamed “The Oscars of Fashion,” the CFDA Awards commemorates trailblazers and innovators who represent the pinnacle of success in the cut-throat fashion industry. So why would Roach announce his departure from the industry now, during the climax of his styling career?
A recently circulated clip from an interview with Roach reveals that the stylist has hinted about detaching from the fashion industry before.
“I’m Black, I’m from the hood I can always go back,” Roach affirmed, “I’ll always get money, I’ll always be successful, and if I have to get into a situation where I have to re-work who I am and what I’m doing then I’m not afraid of that,” the former stylist continued.
Law Roach’s retirement has prompted an eruption of commentary on social media surrounding the mental health and well-being of Black professionals in mainstream fashion. It’s no secret that the fashion world is still consumed by racism, classism, elitism, and almost every other “ism” in the book, but Roach’s sudden withdrawal from the field almost serves as a public slap in the face to the fashion industry, or “The Chiffon Trenches” as the late Andre Leon Talley dubbed it.
On March 15, 2023, just one day after his retirement post, Roach made his runway debut at the BOSS Miami fashion show sporting a taupe-tailored pantsuit with a flowy middle-part weave– talk about making a statement! Roach’s runway appearance was ironically timely off the heels of an unforeseen departure from the fashion industry. This instance, along with others, has led many fashion enthusiasts to question whether Roach will truly sever ties with the industry forever.
The style tycoon’s most recent tweets confirm that if no one else is, Zendaya is still in his corner.
“She’s my little sister and it’s real love not the fake industry love,” tweeted Roach.
It is admirable that Law Roach prioritized his dignity and pride by retracting his position in the fashion industry and shocking the entire world of fashion along the way. Law Roach’s retirement is an opportunity to reflect on his timeless contributions to daring yet quintessential style, and a reminder to give icons their flowers throughout their careers while they can still accept them.
I look forward to what’s next for the “Image Architect”– I know it will be legendary!