Despite her relatively short tenure in Hollywood, Zendaya has already become something of a fashion maven, exuding sophisticated style with the propensity to take the right kind of risks. Her red carpet looks have launched her to the top of numerous best-dressed lists and it’s, at least in part, thanks to her longtime stylist Law Roach.
Roach is Zendaya’s biggest and loudest champion. He fought hard for her in the early years, facing prejudiced opposition from the fashion world for being a Black male stylist with a Black female client. In a recent interview with Paper magazine, he discussed the struggles he faced when he first started dressing Zendaya in 2011. He said,
“To be very honest, a lot of the houses weren’t dressing Black girls.”
“I really believed in her from the day she walked in. I thought she was a star and I wanted to throw everything that I had, anything that I could do, into her. I just felt like the world needed to know this girl so what it forced me to do was to start building relationships with emerging designers, which in essence was forcing me to be even more creative in a space that I already had no experience in.”
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Additionally, Zendaya had to overcome the stigma of being a “Disney girl,” which also caused designers to rebuff her. In a 2017 interview with Fashionista, he recalled,
“I fought for Zendaya for years, I fought for her…I just didn’t understand what they didn’t see that this was one of the most beautiful girls in the world.”
Roach has been fighting for Zendaya for more than 9 years, ever since the two of them were introduced through a friend of a friend. Their first red carpet look together was for Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never movie premiere. Since then, the two have collaborated on iconic looks as well as a gender-neutral clothing and shoe line.
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For her part, Zendaya clearly has only the deepest admiration for the man whose fearlessness in fashion allowed her to build up her own confidence.
At 2019’s InStyle Awards, she presented Roach with the Stylist of the Year award. She told the crowd,
“You have taught me so much about myself, to not give an F about what people think, to be proud of who I am and when I look in the mirror. You always remind me if I ever get nervous about my hair, makeup, or whatever, that — do you care what they really think? And I say nope, and then we go. You’ve inspired me to be fearless with the roads that you continue to pave. I’m lucky to be by your side.”
Roach and Zendaya appear to have an inseparable bond and the two have faced some truly uphill battles together. They’ve confronted racism and elitism in the fashion industry and in the media. But Roach’s courage and loyalty enabled them both to overcome the inequalities of the industry and triumph over it all. If only there were more Law Roaches working in fashion; its landscape would be a vastly different place.
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This article was originally published on March 12, 2020