HAIR PRODUCTS: KIEHL’S, INCLUDING SILK GROOM SERUM. HAIR: TYLER JOHNSTON FOR KIEHL’S/ONE REPRESENTS. GROOMER: ANDREW GALLIMORE FOR NARS/CLM. MAKEUP: ZOE TAYLOR FOR DARPHIN/JED ROOT. STUDIO MANAGER: MARK PATTENDEN. PHOTO ASSISTANTS: FENTON BAILEY, MALAK KABBANI. MAKEUP ASSISTANT: LILY GREGORY.
Founder and designer of Simone Rocha, London.
COLLEEN KELSEY: What’s a typical day like for you?
SIMONE ROCHA: The first half of the week would be all fittings. I now get up extremely early because I have a little girl. I get to the studio, fittings usually start at ten and probably run till seven o’clock. But every day is different. Some days are focusing on different parts of the collection, special projects, and some days are pure design.
KELSEY: You’ve kept to two seasons a year. Is there a pressure to expand?
ROCHA: For me, it’s not about focusing on what everyone else is doing, but what would be right for us, which is to do the two seasons and to do them really well and make them very artisanal and desirable. It always comes from a very personal place. It takes me six months to come to. [laughs] It’s a model that really works for us. We have a really nice relationship with all our stores, and we try to be as accommodating as possible with the two collections. But I think it’s really the pressure you put on yourself. Every brand is part of the system, but at the same time, I do believe each brand has its own goals, dreams, and what drives it. Luckily enough, I’ve been able to do this with two seasons a year.
KELSEY: How do you rectify the creative side with the commerce of it all?
ROCHA: It’s very much a balancing act because, for me, it’s always come from a super creative place and a very physical place—a lot of making and doing. I don’t do a lot of sketching. I do a lot of work on the stands, on a model; that’s how I create the collection. Balancing that with commerce is putting myself in the shoes of the customer. When I opened my own store last year, it really opened my eyes to everything that we needed to balance out the collection, to have different price brackets, and make it a femininity that all women can relate to. I actually enjoy both of them. But the commerce came later. [laughs]
KELSEY: What do you do to stay fresh?
ROCHA: It’s always good to go see a really good show, a really good exhibition. Especially if you can travel, because then you don’t have a phone, you don’t have a computer. It’s good to alienate yourself with your thoughts. I always find that any time I’m on my own on the train or plane, that’s when I get all the ideas down. To be inspired, I travel quite a lot. I live in London, but I’m from Ireland, and my father is from Hong Kong, so I move around a lot, and that’s very energizing for me. I think you need to get out. You need to see your friends, go to the pub.
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