Simone Rocha

1 Jun

Daughter of legendary designer John Rocha Simone has made a name for herself in the fashion business independently and elegantly. This lady may be a chip off the old block but her hard work, determination, and original viewpoint are what have made her so successful as a designer.

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Having had an interest in fashion and style throughout her youth Simone went to the National College of Art and Design, Dublin to study fashion. In 2008 she graduated from NCAD with a BA in Fashion and then went on to complete her MA at prestigious Central Saint Martin’s, London. Earning her MA under renowned professor Louise Wilson she went on to present at London Fashion Week that year.

Rocha’s masculine tailoring caught the eye of  widely recognised Lulu Kennedy, director of Fashion East, a pioneering platform for new designers to present collections at London Fashion Week. It aims to nurture emerging young designers through the difficult early stages in their fashion careers. This was an amazing opportunity for Rocha to present a catwalk collection to the international press and buyers attending LFW. She was given a bursary, free venue, catwalk show production, professional catwalk photos and video, mentoring, guidance and PR throughout the season.

Simone Rocha

In 2011, Rocha collaborated with Topshop on a collection, and had her own window display in Selfridges as part of the store’s Bright Young Things showcase. After her first solo show in September 2011 she received sponsorship from Topshop’s NewGen scheme for her next three shows.

One may be thinking what it is about Simone Rocha’s designs that are so amazing? This woman has a fresh design aesthetic that speaks for itself. Her work stands out as individual, original and intriguing. She is known for her experimental and pioneering fabric techniques. She uses textiles that contrast and complement each other in an unusual way. One outfit can consist of perspex, silk organza, tweed, with lace inserts. Her signature is ”modern and strong yet romantic”. She describes her ideal client as a woman who wants to wear ”beautiful things”.

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This pastel pink coat set the Pastel Coat trend of A/W 13 which had every high street shop stocking them.

 ‘I think about clothes every single minute of the day,’ she says. ‘It’s constant, it’s actually constant. But I don’t mind, it means I’m using my brain so it’s OK. I think the only time I ever switch off is when I go to the south of France because my family have a place down there and then I can not have my phone. But I’ll still see an amazing old French lady and think, that’s a look.’

Dublin is where she was born and brought up, and the city has been her father’s home since 1978. John Rocha was born in Hong Kong to a Portuguese father and a Chinese mother, and came to England in 1971 to study fashion at Croydon College. Simone and her brother, Max, are his children from his second marriage, to Odette, who is also his business partner.

Rocha’s collections have gained great press recognition and have gained some of the most prestigious collections in the world.

Rocha showed her A/W13 collection at the Topshop Space in the Tanks of the Tate Modern. For A/W13 she did an installation for IT Beijing Market, showcasing her signature Perspex fittings.

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Cara Delevigne wear Simone Rocha.

Simone Rocha recieved the Emerging Womenswear Designer award at the British Fashion Awards 2013 as well as recieving the Best Future Fashion Wallpaper Award 2013.

For S/S14 Rocha returned to the BFC Somerset House Courtyard in their newly redesigned showspace.

Simone Rocha’s understanding of cut and fabrication techniques is apparent in each of her collections. Although much of her knowledge of texture and craft has been passed down through the family (her father’s knitter taught her to crochet at 14 so that she could help make socks for a show of his), it also came from studying: first at NCAD in, where much of her time was spent learning technique – cutting, drafting patterns, sewing; then at Saint Martins, where she developed her design principals and aesthetic. She had first started assisting her father at the age of 16, graduating from making the tea to helping out with pattern-cutting. She ended up assisting him on fittings and running orders for shows. ‘I feel he always valued my opinion but it was never official,’ she says. ‘If he wanted it, then I was always there to give him my opinion.’

She still uses her craft techniques, and does much of her own hand-knitting and hand-crocheting (although she now has two textiles assistants). ‘I was never a printer so I don’t use print, but I’ve always been a knitter so I want to use knit,’ she says. ‘But I’m open-minded, and we’re learning different things all the time.’ In her collections she mixes old crafts with modern fabrics – plastic, PVC, even Perspex – to make something entirely new, giving her clothes a distinctive, modern twist.

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