Since retiring from full-time celebrity styling, image architect Law Roach has been in his exploration era when it comes to his career. Roach has previously been a go-to for celebrities like Zendaya, Megan Thee Stallion, and Kerry Washington for almost a decade. His recent explorations have been as a model for Hugo Boss’s Men’s Fall/Winter 2023 runway show earlier this year. A few days ago, he made his debut as a red carpet correspondent for the 2023 British Fashion Awards on behalf of Smartwater. This year has moved so quickly for Roach and is only continuing to go in more exciting directions.
For his correspondent duties, he wore a custom JW Anderson black satin paneled suit. Later that evening, Anderson took home the “Designer Of the Year” award. When asked who he was rooting for to win an award, Roach responded, “In the great words of Issa Rae, I was rooting for all the Black people.” It appears his wish came true as the night was full of wins for Black designers and creatives including Maximilian Davis of Ferragamo for “Womenswear Designer Of The Year” and Martine Rose for “Menswear Designer Of The Year.” Other wins like Paloma Elsesser for “Model Of The Year” and Bianca Saunders for “New Establishment Menswear Designer” defined the night too.
Roach’s last time working with Smartwater was when he hand-picked emerging designers for a campaign that starred his friend and longtime client Zendaya. He’s been in her life since she was 13 years old and has been pivotal to her transformational and admirable fashion journey. The Smartwater campaign showcased Roach’s keen eye for emerging talent including designers Nensi Dojaka, Chet Lo, and Conner Ives to name a few. He’s no novice when it comes to championing rising talent.
Following the 2023 British Fashion Awards, we chatted with Law Roach about the night’s biggest moments, what this new era of his life is like, and more. He also shared some advice he’d like to give to fellow creatives.
How did you find out you were hosting the Fashion Awards and what was your reaction?
I found out through my agency, the Only Agency and I was super excited. I’ve been going through this phase of figuring out what I’m good at, [and] what I can do. I’ve been, for the last decade of my life, doing one thing, being a stylist. I’m in this phase of discovery. And I’ve hosted an award show before, but I’ve never done any red carpet correspondence. I just looked into it thinking I was going to have my Joan Rivers moment and get to ask all these beautiful people about the beautiful clothes they were wearing. So, I was super excited.
What were your favorite moments from the night?
[Me] asking people, “What was the smartest piece of advice they ever gotten?” Just life advice or fashion advice. That was fun for me to do, and to ask that question. I got so many different reactions and responses, but it was just really cool. I just got those little words of wisdom, someone said that the smartest piece of advice she ever gave was “Don’t compromise.” And I thought that was powerful.
How would you answer that question?
I think the smartest piece of advice I’ve ever gotten was from a woman [who] was kind of like an aunt to me, and she just told me, “Sometimes you have to be still.” In practice [it’s] just giving yourself a second, to just sit and be still and to think about what’s happening in your life or what’s happening at that moment. It just helps you gain clarity and make better decisions.
Who were you rooting for the most?
Maximilian Davis, who I think is shaping up to be one of the most important designers of our generation, from Ferragamo, who’s like a little brother to me. Paloma [Elsesser] for “Model Of The Year.” I was rooting for everybody. In the famous words of Issa Rae, I was rooting for all the Black people. And Jonathan Anderson won “Designer Of The Year” so that was really great. And Max won “Womenswear Designer Of The Year.” Some of my favorites.
How was it working with Smartwater as a red carpet correspondent?
It was great. I got to meet people who I hadn’t worked with before that sit on the brand side. It was a really easy night and they made sure I was comfortable and I felt taken care of. It was raining and it was a bit cold but the Smartwater team rallied around each other and made sure that we made the best night out of it. It was fun and after a while, we kind of forgot that the weather was so bad in the midst of all the excitement and the glamour. I spoke to some of my favorite people, and I met a bunch of new friends and Julia Hobbs, who was my co-host, I had never met her. I felt like I just walked away from the experience with another good friend. It was all around a really beautiful experience.
Was there a particular win during the awards show that moved you?
I think Edward Enningful, who got the “Trailblazer Award,” I think he came and did so many great things culturally. Now that he’s stepped down from that [British Vogue] position, and him winning that award, I think that one was the one that stuck out to me the most because he’s become a mentor for me. He hired me as the West Coast Contributing Editor for British Vogue. So, I just have a lot of history and a lot of love there. I think just him accepting the “Trailblazer Award,” because he really deserved that. And he really is that title.
Since you hand-picked designers for a previous Smartwater campaign with Zendaya, are you planning on doing so again for another campaign?
Hopefully, if that opportunity comes around again. I would love to do that. I think what happened is Zendaya has this huge platform and Smartwater as a brand has a huge platform, then combining those platforms and combining that reach helped to shine a light and uplift emerging brands and newer brands. I think it was just beautiful. Sometimes you do things because it just makes you feel good. And I think that was a good moment on our side, speaking for myself and Zendaya.
How does it feel to shift from being largely behind the scenes to doing work that is more so front-facing?
A little scary, to be quite honest but also free. I feel free and really happy. I get to express myself and have more of an interaction with the people who have followed me over the years and who are inspired by my story and the things that I’ve done. I feel like I’m closer to the people, for lack of a better phrase, and I just get to be more of who I am as a person. I think when you work behind the scenes, you are always really conscious of the people that you’re working for. Now, I feel like I’m working a little bit more for myself and just being able to be a personality; not that I had it bottled up or trapped inside me but, I just feel free. I feel like [with] me being more forward-facing and public-facing hopefully I get more opportunities to inspire people and [evoke] change. It’s hard to do that when you’re behind the scenes. I think it’s easier in a way to do it when you’re in front so I’m just happy to be able to be in a position where I get to do certain things.
Do you think Black talent, designers, and creatives deserved more wins?
I think we had a beautiful night. Maximilian and Bianca Sanders and Edward and Paloma, I think it was a great night for fashion in general as a whole.
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