Nigeria Why Nigerian Fabrics Are Popular Among American Designers
Law Roach, also known as the Image Architect, is one of America’s most celebrated celebrity stylists. He is responsible for the style transformation of legendary superstar Celine Dion and Hollywood starlet Zendaya. He started his career in the fashion industry, selling vintage clothes from the trunk of his car.
His network of clients now includes A-list celebrities such as Anne Hathaway, Ariana Grande, Tom Holland, Tiffany Haddish, and many more.
PREMIUM TIMES interviewed him shortly after his masterclass at the GTBank Fashion Weekend where he discussed Image Architecture and much more.
PT: Tell us about first introduction to the world of fashion?
Law: I think my first introduction to fashion was actually my grandmother. Attending church with my grandmother was such a delight for me especially on Sunday mornings. It was such a process. Watching her make-up, dress up, wear her shoes, hat and jewelry were so interesting. So I think me watching that entire process really made me obsessed with the art form of being a woman which encompasses fashion.
PT: Why did you choose to go into fashion?
Law: I think fashion chose me because fashion was the only thing I was ever really interested in. It was the only thing I was ever good at and it just made me happy. So, I just started to like go out to try if I can be successful and make it and by the grace of God I have.
PT: You started out by selling vintage items from your car.
Law: It so amazing. I mean my transition to becoming who I am today. I met Zendaya and then one day Kanye West came into the store just randomly and where I stocked some of my vintage items and picked some stuff and the news travelled all over the world. So a lot of stylists started to come around so when I sighted that they were making a living out of it; it seemed like they were happy. I felt like I could do it too so that was how we started the transition.
PT: What is it like working with some of the biggest stars like Celine Dion and others?
Law: It was funny that I hadn’t dreamt of a dream that big so when I Celine Dion called and asked to meet me and again work with me, it was incredible. I approach push everybody the same way and that is why I am really happy and grateful and honoured that they choose me. It was incredible because she is such a huge star and she is such an icon. So to be close with her, work with her and know her on a personal level was probably incredible.
PT: So what other stars have you styled, do you currently styled?
Law: Gwen Stefani, Mariah Carey, Anne Hathaway, Zendaya, Ariana Grande, Tom Holland, Tiffany Haddish, and many more.
PT: How come you have not transitioned from being a stylist to being a designer?
Law: I think it’s all about timing but when I am ready and the opportunity presents itself I will do it. I have done things with Zendaya; we have designed things together. When it’s my time to happen you know things happen exactly when it’s supposed to.
PT: When you see a star because every star is unique, what comes to mind on what you are going to do as regards the person’s wardrobe and other things?
Law: You know for me, someone that we know might have a really distinct style. So you know you just try to follow that and to build on that. You know some people want to style from the bottom and some people want to start from ground zero. They want something new and fresh, so you need to figure out who they are, so whichever one that is I just have to work from that.
PT: You literally transformed Celine Dion’s style. How did you achieve that feat?
Law: I think everybody had an idea of who Celine is, who she was and I had to be close to her to really figure out her style. She is a fashion girl, she loves it, appreciates it, she knows it and wanted to take the risk. She just wanted her inside to be her outside and I glad I achieved that. She has been around for 30 years and I don’t think anyone has given her the opportunity to really evolve her style.
PT: On your personal note, how would you define your own style?
Law: It switches, it changes because it all depends on my mood. I love vintage, I love a lot of vintage outfits and sometimes I wear a lot of well-tailored suits.
I think clothes are our biggest expressions and who you should. I feel your clothes are your costumes. Every superhero has a costume.
PT: Who is that person look forward to styling?
Law: I don’t have any particular person because I think the universe puts you in people’s life and around where you are supposed to be so wherever it takes me, whoever it leads me to then I will be happy to be.
PT: What are your favourite fashion pieces?
Law: I love clothes, bags, and shoes. I also think every woman needs a beautiful handbag and classic dress coat and a great black dress.
PT: How much of the Nigerian fashion industry are you in tune with?
Law: I have been trying to visit Nigeria for really a very long time. I have followed all the designers who showcased at the Lagos Fashion Week and ‘Orange Culture’ is one of my favorite Nigerian designers. So I have not been honestly able to make contact with so many Nigerian fashion designers. That is why I am so excited about coming here to use this opportunity to get to know them and of course buy some of their clothes. I just need their connection so I can get their clothes for my clients.
PT: So what is your assessment of our fashion industry far?
Law: There is of talent deposit here and I think what is going on in the Nigerian fashion industry is incredible. There are a lot of black Americans that are very interested in visiting Nigeria. I have a lot of friends who visit Nigeria especially during Christmas which I heard is insane (in a good way).
I think for black people in America, what is happening in Lagos and Ghana is really important and we want to be a part of it. Nigerian fabrics are rich and there is so much we can do with it. I know some Nigerian designs, fabrics have been worn by American celebrities but I know it can get better. You guys can do more with the right support and network.
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PT: Why are you called the image architect?
Law: It is because I am better than other people. It’s just a way to showcase what I do and differentiate myself.
PT: Do you love our indigenous fabrics like the Ankara?
Law: I am taking this trip as an opportunity to familiarise myself with your fashion industries and everything in between.
PT: What inspired your Tommy Hilfiger and Zendaya collection?
Law: It was inspired by just black women and the idea of black women who are fashion icons. It was our own way to create these fantasies of what if the black women were praised and celebrated like white American. It is basically to show love and respect to our women that came and opened doors for Zendaya.
PT: What is your first shot at designing?
Law: No it isn’t. We did some shoots in the past but that collaboration was the biggest of them and Tommy Hilfiger was really gracious to give us everything we needed. I have done designs for tours. I design the outfits and entire ensemble for Ariana Grande’s last two world tours. I always have a hand in designing but that was the first time I actually had a hand in a full design collection.
PT: Are you a fan of our food or music perhaps?
Law: I worked with Star Boy (Wizkid) I love Wizkid and I dressed him for the BET awards a couple of years ago. I just met Davido at Idris Elba’s wedding where he performed.