Law Roach is one of Hollywood’s most renowned stylists and has delivered groundbreaking looks for the likes of Zendaya, Megan Thee Stallion, Celine Dion and Anya Taylor-Joy. Hence, it came as a massive surprise when the stylist posted an image on Instagram with the word ‘retired’ written on it – in red no less.
“I’m out,” says Law Roach
“My Cup is empty….. thank you to everyone who’ve supported me and my career over the years. Every person that trusted me with their image, I’m so grateful for you all. If this business was just about the clothes I would do it for the rest of my life but unfortunately, it’s not! The politics, the lies and the false narratives finally got me! You win…I’m out (sic),” he wrote in the caption.
Law Roach’s post caused a huge storm in the fashion world with designers, actors, fellow stylists and supermodels registering their support for him and his work. Designer Rahul Mishra urged Law to continue with his work and called him a genius while supermodel Naomi Campbell wrote: “Law I won’t let you! We don’t quit . . . strived to hard (sic)”.
Supermodel and entrepreneur Iman Abdulmajid stated that Law is too talented to retire and that he is a designer at heart. Fashion illustrator and designer Hayden Williams wrote a heartening note for Law, saying that as a black creative, he is very much needed and while there are people with weird agendas and politics in the industry, he had achieved such incredible success for a reason.
“Stress is a 24 x 7 companion” – Nitasha Gaurav
Noted stylist Nitasha Gaurav who has often been credited with turning Ranveer Singh into a style icon, took to her Instagram stories to share her thoughts on Law Roach’s post:
“Stylists might look like they have the most covetable jobs, but it’s an intensely demanding and all-consuming career with little to no work-life balance or self-prioritisation. Everything is about making the next look happen, at whatever cost it demands. Relentless work hours, politics, expectations, near-impossible asks, and zero room for errors are all par for the course,” she wrote.
“Stress is a 24 x 7 companion. It may let you achieve tremendous success but over time, it feels like you become the least important person in your own life. You are able to do it only because you love it, the artists you work with, and the high it gives you but beyond a point, you need to stop, catch your breath and find yourself again. The burnout is real and you have to remind yourself that there is more to life than just this. You are not a one-trick pony,” she added.
“If you’re looking at a long-lasting career, it’s important to make time for yourself” – Divyak D’Souza
Divyak D’Souza who has worked with actors like Kareena Kapoor Khan and Tabu says that Law has broached a topic that has been debated and discussed for a while now with popular Instagram pages like Diet Sabya highlighting the problems stylists face.
“There are a lot of issues just stemming from the fact that this is an unstructured profession. There is no union that has rules and regulations that applies to all stylists. There are no defined pay structures basis your years of experience – like how do you quantify somebody’s talent with money, right? This is obviously a very competitive and disorganised sector of work and what tends to happen is that a lot of stylists get taken advantage of in many ways,” he said in an exclusive conversation with Lifestyle Asia India. He further added, “People are trying to tell you what you should be charging and this usually conveniently aligns with the budgets they have allocated. A lot of young people who are eager to work and build their portfolio end up working for lesser money and they end up working almost inhumane hours. You don’t have weekends like a regular corporate employee, you work when you need to work.”
D’Souza goes on to say that there is also a level of entitlement from clients and he doesn’t just mean celebrities. Budgets are tight and so are the timelines. “Even some advertising clients don’t consider the fact that creating custom-made looks or putting together a wardrobe that makes sense for a certain brief takes a lot of time, effort, energy and money. And then you’re expected to deliver miracles and if you don’t, then the assumption is that there are enough people ready to take the job,” he states.
This kind of pressure does get to him and he did feel them quite strongly in his initial years of styling. However, he does remark that once you’ve worked enough and built up enough confidence and your network, it is important to start drawing boundaries for yourself.
“I understand that I’m speaking from a position of privilege but I do feel it’s something everyone in this profession should strive for. Draw your own boundaries and make sure that you have a well-defined set of terms and conditions that you want to work with. And if somebody’s not agreeable to those, don’t bend them. If you’re looking at a long-lasting career and your well-being and mental health, then it’s very important to make that time for yourself and not be consumed in the laundry list of things that other people tell you you should strive for, you know?” D’Souza says.
“I really hope Law Roach comes back” – Isha Bhansali
Isha Bhansali, the stylist behind some of Bollywood’s most memorable looks and the one who’s helped ace actor Ayushmann Khurrana really up his style game says that Law Roach’s post was relatable.
“At some point, I think every stylist relates to what he’s saying. Firstly, I would like to say that every profession has a certain breaking point where the professional always feels that enough is enough and that they’re done with all of this – that it’s getting too much and they need to take a break. I think everybody goes through that at some point in their life,” Bhansali said in an exclusive conversation with us.
Particularly for celebrity stylists and if you’re a freelancer, the schedules are extremely erratic – either you’re too busy or you’re too free. It does get extremely hectic, Bhansali says but she does feel extremely blessed because she’s made a conscious decision to stick to the people who are genuinely really nice and make her work environment comfortable.
“I’m blessed because I can afford to do that and stick to the people who are really nice. Of course, your passion comes first but it’s also really important that you make sure you have a harmonious relationship with everybody. So it’s not just your client but everybody you are working with – you have to make sure you’re working with people who are in tandem with your work ethics and your principles and where you have a mutual appreciation for each other” she adds.
Like D’Souza and Gaurav, Bhansali also states that a stylist’s job is physically strenuous. Hence, the only way to keep doing what they love is to ensure they keep their work environment harmonious and stick to the few people they enjoy working with.
“There are solutions but this is something that happens with everybody. The issues are very relatable and it happens to the best of us. I really hope Law Roach comes back. He’s a really talented person and it’ll be very heartbreaking to have someone as talented as him go away. So I’m hoping for the best,” she says.
“One needs to be thick-skinned to do this job” – Edward Lalrempuia
Noted stylist Edward Lalrempuia who has previously held the position of Fashion Director at Harper’s Bazaar India, Fashion Editor at Vogue India and Fashion Stylist at Elle India relates with most of what Law Roach has to say.
“In this business, there is immense pressure and lots of politics to deal with. We work under very short timelines and also huge expectations,” he tells us, adding: “It does take a toll sometimes. One needs to be thick-skinned to do this job. Law Roach is a veteran stylist. It must have taken a lot for him to make this decision.”
(Feature image: Boss on Instagram, Hero Image: Law Roach on Instagram)