It takes a certain kind of designer to send models down the runway wearing neoprene ski masks. And pull it off. It’s just the sort of thing to expect from Romey Roe. A risk. But, one that worked.
The 26-year-old Lafayette designer took home the South Walton Fashion Week award this fall for his “Retrospect Introversion” collection. Roe was among a dozen emerging designers that took to the beach town under the scrutiny of judges like Michael Knight of Project Runway fame and Jin Seo formerly of style powerhouses like Ralph Lauren and Marc Jacobs.
“To be judged by them and actually win … I was so honored and happy,” he says.
The win was especially sweet when connected to this collection. A collection inspired by his three weeks at New York Fashion Week as an intern. A collection where he took the biggest risks thus far in his work.
“This time I really pushed the envelope and it was something I had to say,” he says.
What he had to say is inspired by his experience at fashion week where his eyes were opened to the insatiable appetite of the industry and the people in it.
“It was always about the next thing and that’s what New York is about. What’s next. This is over and it’s on to the next thing. No one ever gets enough. More knowledge and more creativity. That’s really motivating for me. I wanted to push myself further,” he says.
The other inspiration for the collection came from a piece of fabric found far from the streets of NYC.
“I was really inspired by this print I got in Montana,” Roe says. “This print is so dynamic.”
He says it feels like a man walking in the forest alone. A representation of a lonely journey.
“Who are you? In this crazy world of fashion or in anything — who are you? People want you to become what they want. Staying true to you and showing a different side of yourself is really difficult. The collection took me on a journey.”
It’s a journey that’s in fast progress. Following the big win Roe is shooting for Vie Magazine as well as Art + Design Magazine. He’s been featured four times on Vogue Italia’s website. And he will be back at South Walton next fall with a bigger collection. He’s likely to show around these parts, too. Keep your eye on New Orleans for shows likely to come in the spring.
Roe is that sort of artist who can articulate his vision in many ways, yet believes there is a time for a silence that leaves enough room to hear more than his audible voice.
“There’s only so much talking you can do. I’m not a very good talker. There’s a powerful statement you get from saying nothing and letting the clothes and the music speak for themselves.” — AB