Despite her age, Zendaya is a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry. The 18-year-old star of Disney Channel’s K.C. Undercover looks absolutely stunning time after time on the red carpet. And when it comes to shutting down a New York Fashion Week front row, Zendaya makes flawlessness look so damn easy.
To get front row ready, Zendaya calls on her long time stylist, Law Roach. The Chicago native recalls getting his start with Zendaya when she was 13, and struggling to find designers who saw high-fashion potential in her look. “All they saw was Disney Girl, so the designers wouldn’t lend their clothing,” says Law, who’s also worked with Jessie J, La La Anthony, and Tamar Braxton. Those days are far behind the young star, as she currently has top designers from all around the world sending her garments, hoping she’ll be photographed in one of their pieces. (You should see Law’s hotel room during Fashion Week — it’s pretty much a Paris showroom.)
What’s your favorite look you’ve done on Zendaya?
Actually one of my favorite looks wasn’t that long ago, it was for the Teen Vogue Young Hollywood. She wore an Armani black jumpsuit and this oversized Armani hat. It was amazing. The hat was so big, it was almost comedic in a way, but we paired it with something really simple and chic. The people from Teen Vogue and Armani reached out and said she was the best dressed of the night and they couldn’t believe she was able to pull that hat off.
What’s next for Zendaya? What are your plans for her brand?
She’s 18 now and carrying herself more like a woman. She’s always been really poised but now I see her womanhood evolving and we can show a little more skin. When that happens with a girl, you move into a whole other realm of style. She just got a new record deal with Universal Republic so we’ll be working on her imagery for her album.
What are your plans to play-up these new things in her life?
Well, she’s not a kid anymore. She just got a new car and she’s dating, she has a new show on Disney and it’s a little more grown up than the old show, so it’s just like her evolution into womanhood. We don’t sit down and say, “This is how this is gonna be.” Our thing together is so organic, so emotional, you just have to watch. Stay tuned!
How do you put your own style into your client’s different looks?
I think that’s one of the things that I’ve been good at. People say they can always tell when I’m working on someone but it’s still always them. I try to let my clients be who they are but still put a little me into it.
Zendaya seems to always have an amazing time wherever she goes. Do you two hang out a lot?
I make it a practice to not really hang out with my clients, because I feel like I’m here to do a job and you pay me to do a job. We have respect and love for each other because you’re so close and you’re in their space. You see them at their most vulnerable — no hair, no makeup — so in that situation we do build a really strong relationship. But for me, because I see what happens with a lot of stylists, I chose to make it really professional.
How would you describe your relationship with Zendaya?
I’ve been with Zendaya since she was 13, 14 years old. I saw her grow up and have been to her birthday parties; she’s like my little sister. Our relationship is a little different — she isn’t really big on doing a lot of stuff ’cause she works so much. For us, it’d just be at her house, watching old Diana Ross performances on YouTube. Still, we’re doing that for inspiration, but that’s what we do for fun. Simple chill stuff, like eat ice cream.
What was your strategy to get Zendaya noticed in the fashion world at a young age?
I would buy dresses that somebody already wore. Because what that does is create a “Who Wore it Better?” situation, and I know that there’s not a lot of girls who can stand next to her. I was confident in her and her beauty. Us Weekly had so many “Who Wore it Better?” pieces with Zendaya and other celebs, and we actually won every single one except one.
How is that seen among the stylist community?
The thing that’s different for me is I really don’t have a crew. The thing with stylists is you usually come through someone’s lineage — you were the intern for this assistant to the stylist, and when that stylist moved up, you moved up to be a key assistant. I didn’t have the opportunity to do that. I never was an intern, I never was an assistant. So I don’t really have a history in this industry. I came up as a phantom stylist and people were seeing my work, but no one knew me.
Do you think the industry is really competitive?
Yeah, I hear little catty whispers like, “Who is he? Where did he come from?” or, “Oh she’s beautiful so it’s easy,” but I just let it roll of my shoulder and don’t take it personally. I know fashion is mean and it’s catty but I just have to stay positive and not get caught up in it.
If you had to describe Zendaya’s style in three words, what would they be?
Bold, youthful, and sophisticated.
Check out the video of Law giving us an exclusive look into his world during one of the year’s biggest events, New York Fashion Week.