When Law Roach was nine years old, his mom told him, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat, so figure it out.” That statement would inspire him to become what he is today — a famous celebrity fashion stylist who has styled the likes of Celine Dion, Zendaya, Ariana Grande, Anne Hathaway, Tiffany Haddish, and more. In fact, many celebrities, particularly, Dion and Zendaya, successfully rebranded under his watch.
Raised on the South Side of Chicago in a very tough neighborhood, Roach was the eldest of five children. He learned early in life that he had to make his own way as he didn’t have “the most stable family dynamic”, he said. Growing up, he watched old VHS cassettes of Charlie’s Angels and Dynasty with his grandmother, who was into style. Later, his grandmother introduced him to vintage shopping.
“I would go through the women’s racks out of curiosity and buy a few things here and there,” Roach recalled in an interview with The Guardian. Soon, his collection grew and he was forced to keep the clothes in the boot of his car. After studying psychology at Chicago State, and getting a lot of customers for the clothes he sold out of the boot of his car, Roach and his friend Siobhan Strong opened a small resale shop called Deliciously Vintage in 2009.
Their shop soon shot to fame after Kanye West, who was college pals with Strong, entered it. Roach told The Zoe Report, “One time, Kanye West came into the store and it became this big story of a little black-owned vintage store on the south side of Chicago where Kanye came in, and he spent this amount of money. Because of that story, we started to have interactions with stylists from New York, Paris, Los Angeles — from around the world, basically.”
Soon, Roach signed his very first client, an R&B singer called K. Michelle. However, what made him shine was his meeting with Spiderman: Homecoming star Zendaya. Zendaya, then 14, needed an outfit for Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never premiere. Roach and Zendaya went shopping and the result was “a puke-green, patent-leather Alexander Wang skirt with a silver Alice and Olivia blazer.”
“We were like, ‘People are either gonna love it or hate it, but we love it.’” The two started working together. Roach said he had to come up with a plan to get Zendaya noticed at the time. “Nobody wanted to dress her when she wasn’t known, so I would put her in things that other people had already worn.”
He said that landed her in the celebrity weeklies’ Who Wore It Better columns and, soon, “people started to know her name”.
As Zendaya started grabbing headlines for her amazing looks, Roach was approached by Dion. “She just googled, in her words ‘Who is the stylist of Zendaya?’ And I got a call the next day and she invited me to go on tour with her,” Roach said while explaining how he met the iconic singer. Soon, he started styling her, helping her to transform into a “versatile fashion icon”. The internet was set agog after the Canadian singer was spotting in streetwear — a Vetements Titanic-themed hoodie. That remains one of Roach’s proudest moments.
“I think it’s one of the biggest fashion moments ever to take this brand [Vetements] that is known for being very streetwear, to put it on the queen of sequins and rhinestones and have it be cool and not forced,” he said in an interview.
Roach, who has been arguing for diversity in the fashion industry, was recently named one of the most powerful celebrity stylists by The Hollywood Reporter. This May, he was also named Hollywood’s most influential stylist of the year. He however sees the term stylist as “overused”. He calls himself the “image architect”.
“What I do is similar to what an architect does,” Roach told The Guardian. “The surveying, building a blueprint, sourcing materials, all that. But I’m doing it with clothes, jewelry, hair and makeup.”
The African-American designer and one-time judge of America’s Next Top Model loves working with clients who are ready to take risks, and it’s been great so far, he said.
“…I do what I do because I love women, and playing a part in making them feel beautiful. When a client gets dressed, there’s this new walk, this new persona that she takes on. When I see that, it drives me crazy. It’s like my drug.”