Celebrity stylists have lifted the lid on what it’s really like to work in the industry after Zendaya’s long-time sartorial partner Law Roach dropped a retirement bombshell this week after a highly successful awards season dressing the likes of Hunter Schafer, Kerry Washington and Megan Thee Stallion.
‘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 false narratives finally got me! You win… I’m out,’ the 44-year-old wrote in a cryptic Instagram post.
And this shocking news triggered a wave of speculation about what led to Law calling time on his much-lauded career that has made him one of the most sought-after celebrity stylists in Hollywood.
To give you a look inside the far-from-glamorous lifestyle, FEMAIL has spoken to two celebrity stylists who have decades of experience between them, detailing the long hours, the ‘barely minimum wage’ pay and the lack of appreciation for their work.
Celebrity stylist Law Roach (pictured with Naomi Campbell in 2022) has shocked the fashion industry by announcing his sudden retirement this week
Law has been synonymous with one of his most famous clients, Zendaya. The pair (pictured at Paris Fashion Week in 2022) have been spotted together front row as well as on the red carpet
One stylist, who did not wish to be named, revealed it was ‘really, really hard work’ with ‘zero benefits.’
They said celebrity clients believed they were entitled to ‘free stuff’ without understanding the costs of constructing the garment.
‘They don’t know that hand beading a dress overnight is $5,000 to $10,000,’ the stylist told DailyMail.com.
Once the stylist said they had a client who asked them to reproduce a Gucci dress, but they didn’t understand that the costs – including the fabric and labor – would not be any less than going into a store themselves and buying the outfit.
Stylists are the ones who often foster relationships between designers and their clients to help execute their visions, but sometimes it can turn sour.
One stylist said a designer had pitched to work with one of their clients and they had struck a $150,000 red-carpet deal.
But then the designer cut the stylist out of the deal and went directly to the client, ruining a decades-long working relationship.
The stylist also revealed that designers were paying celebrities from $25,000 to $100,000 to wear their brands on red carpets.
He’s seen here adjusting celebrity client Anya Taylor Joy’s dress. The stylist has also styled Kerry Washington and Hunter Schafer
Kris Jenner and Law pose backstage at The Fashion Awards 2021 at Royal Albert Hall in London
And one of the challenges stylists faced was getting paid.
‘If you get paid, one of the challenges is other people are paying… so the designer says the client should pay you. Unless you are a hired consultant, you will barely get 10 per cent,’ the stylist said.
They continued: ‘Designers are buying authenticity rather than letting stylists build these relationships.’
The stylist said they did a press tour for about a year, without assistants or tailors, and were working 10 to 15 hours a day, and depending on the job, it could be more.
‘Sometimes it’s 24 hours because you’re up with the client, changing them, doing fittings and re-fittings,’ the stylist said.
‘It’s laborious, it requires a lot of production planning, sometimes you’re changing people in cars, sometimes they can’t sit in the cars.’
On a press tour, a stylist could be paid $1,000 per look.
The stylist said they would only end up pocketing $500 after paying for their agent and other expenses.
And if you’re doing 40 outfits a year, ‘that’s $20,000… you’re barely making minimum wage,’ they explained.
The stylist added: ‘You’re living the lifestyle of your client, but technically you’re the help.’
Another stylist, who wishes to remain anonymous, told DailyMail.com ‘what it really boils down to is the stylist really isn’t given credit for the creation that they do.’
‘The celebrity really isn’t [picking out the outfit]. You have to do so much research into what’s going to be happening,’ the stylist said.
‘Every 10 years they’re going to switch you out. You have to realize there’s going to be somebody else who is going to take over your job.
‘You’re pulled in multiple directions when you become a star like that.’
The stylist, who uses he/they pronouns, also spoke about the issue of being compensated for the work done by a professional.
‘With these awards ceremonies, these celebrities make half a million dollars to wear an outfit, and you’re only making a percentage and it’s usually 10 to 20 per cent, so maybe you’re making $50,000 for that,’ he said.
Law was behind Zendaya’s unforgettable Cinderella look for the 2019 Met Gala while taking on the role of her red-carpet Fairy Godmother (pictured)
His unexpected retirement news had some fans checking the calendar to see if it was an early April Fool’s joke, including supermodel Naomi Campbell
‘But you’re also putting five months of work into that one look, so you’re only making $10,000 really a month, and imagine your overhead. That’s the deal and I think that’s where this isn’t explored.
‘And also like what shoes are going to go with that? Who is the diamond going to be? Does that designer allow that cross-pollination?
‘Can you do that? People people get miffed at the smallest things and then you’re out… that was the reality that I learned.’
The stylist told DailyMail.com they also witnessed ‘the bigger client the more they expected for free gifting and wanted to keep the outfit.’
‘Sometimes my clients felt they were the same mega force as Beyoncé and pull some drama about not wanting wear anything I had pulled. When this would happen, I would call Nordstrom Studio services (a clothing rental service for stylists),’ he said.
‘If Gucci said no, I could rent from Nordstrom. This service from Nordstrom was the ace up my sleeve, but generally I would have pay for the rental to placate the client.
‘Celebrities may have money, but style is something money can not buy. Finding harmony with the juxtaposition of garments paired with accessories to accentuate is what creates memorable looks. To possess this talent you need to have confidence in what you are wearing to make a statement.’
Law’s unexpected retirement news rocked the fashion world and had some fans checking the calendar to see if it was an early April Fool’s joke.
Others refused to accept his departure from the fashion world and begged him to continue as a stylist.
‘Law I won’t let you !!!! We don’t quit .. strived to hard,’ supermodel Naomi Campbell responded to his post.
‘Absolutely not,’ designer Christian Siriano commented, while stylist Karla Welch simply wrote, ‘No.’
‘Don’t do it LAW. We need you!’ stylist Brad Gorseki agreed.
After social media users accused Zendaya of ‘rudely’ relegating him to a second-row seat at a fashion show just days before he made his surprise announcement, Law broke his silence to vehemently deny that the actress forced him to quit his job.
‘So y’all really think I’m breaking up with Z….. we are forever!’ he wrote on Twitter, adding in a second post: ‘She’s my little sister and it’s real love not the fake industry love.’