It’s 7:30pm and a dusky glow is setting over the Toronto skyline. I’m at the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel standing with an exclusive group of the city’s fashion elite waiting excitedly for a coveted first look at Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha’s new clothing line, Co+Co By Coco Rocha. Trendy music plays in the background while guests nibble on hors d’oeuvres and sip cocktails, the room is buzzing. Fashionistas mingle while photographers snap shots of models sporting vibrantly chic Co+Co clothing. Suddenly the energy level in the room skyrockets, everyone turns and all eyes are on the woman of the evening: Coco Rocha has arrived and the night has begun.
Rewind 8 hours earlier and Coco and I are tucked away in the hotel’s restaurant reminiscing on her year long Co+Co journey, her modelling career, technology, fashion and motherhood. To describe Coco as simply a “supermodel” almost undermines all of her accomplishments. With 14 years of industry experience under her belt, Coco is a full-fledged fashion icon in every sense of the world. Muse to world-renowned designers such as Zac Posen? Check. Millions of social media followers? Check. Favourite cover girl for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Flare, Fashion, i-D, W (and many more!) Check. And now Coco can also add designer to her resume!
Coco describes Co+Co as “sport chic” with sophisticated and stylish pieces available for prices ranging from $80 to $300. According to Coco, the line is designed for “the girl who is knowledgable and obsessed with fashion, the girl who goes on the internet everyday and researches the new trends.” A passion for panache clearly translates in the collection with thoughtfully chosen bright and monochrome fabrics and architectural silhouettes dominating the designs. Elements of athleticism are clear in every piece as Coco prioritized material, fabrication and shape to ensure all clothes are maximum comfort and style!
Coco Rocha is an indisputable expert when it comes to fashion and always had design in her dreams, however never thought her own line would become a reality. Coco admitted “I always thought ‘hey if I ever had a clothing line…’ but it was just a fantasy though I was not focussed on” until Los Angeles-based Paragon Project approached her with a desire to fill a niche in the fashion athletic wear market. With the help of artists husband, James Conran, a passionate team was formed and suddenly the design process began, meetings were set up and a lifestyle website was all in the works!
Although it seems impossible to imagine there is anything Coco Rocha doesn’t know about the fashion industry she confessed that designing her own line came with a learning curve! “I’m learning about the business side every day” said Coco who cited the process of working with department stores as the most eyeopening. “It was interesting seeing how the whole line isn’t sold at once and what pieces each store wanted for what month” said Coco. As it turns out, department stores play a major role in the production of a collection and Coco said it was great hearing from buyers about what trends to keep an eye on for the future and what ways she could make her line standout to customers.
One way Coco helps to bring a unique angle to her clothing is through technology (which also happens to be one of her obsessions!) Social media and the rise of the digital age have changed the landscape of the fashion industry and Coco plans on embracing that “my career has always been about change, accepting change and trying new things so thats in the DNA of Co+Co.” Coco also touched on the importance of social media to building a brand as both a budding designer and model, “social media means models can have longer career, voice their opinions and brand themselves.” The power of self-branding is something Coco will bring to Co+Co, “I want to make sure the clothing line has a voice and uses technology. When we think of our future [Co+Co] shows we want to do something really exciting. Music, fashion, tech and the arts need to be combined so people think ‘oh wow thats insane!’“
This clothing line definitely is insane! The Spring designs are totally epic and Fall collection is looking just as fabulous. Coco is a true Canadian fashion icon and I cannot wait to follow her next chapter in the industry. Keep reading for my exclusive interview with one of the most poised, playful and elegant supermodels in the world. You don’t want to miss her career advice
(who knows where it could get you😉)
F&B Inc: What is the most important part of starting a clothing line?
Coco Rocha: You need a good team! We have been working on this for a year. Sometimes we had moments wondering ‘will this ever come about?‘ The Co+Co team is very good! It has been a great time, I love my creative team.
F&B Inc: Family is important to you. How has becoming a mother influenced your career/ future goals in the fashion industry?
Coco Rocha: People think once you’re a mom you get a hair cut and start wearing mom pants and you don’t have the life you had before. I don’t think that is the case! I love being a mom, it’s so much fun. I love bringing Ioni to work. Its not easy, but it’s what you make of it. To say my fashion has evolved? No. Being a mom is so much fun… if people are going to see baby and mommy together we both have to look real cute. It would be fun to do a children’s line one day!
F&B Inc: In such a high profile industry, how do you stay grounded?
Coco Rocha: You hang around friends and family that you like and that make you laugh and that have always been around and you find you don’t change. A lot of celebrities have teams who tell them everything they are doing is awesome and they start to believe it. I don’t have ‘yes men‘ People tell me I suck! My husband is honest. Do I take it personally? Ya, like every girl I do! But next time you work on this that and the other. I listen to my friends.
F&B Inc: Whats is the piece of advice you have been given throughout your career?
Coco Rocha: “Its nice to be important, but its important to be nice.” You need to have the attitude that everyone you work with deserves respect. It is important in any job you do.
F&B Inc: Did “industry standards” influence your decision when casting models for the lookbook?
Coco Rocha: I have no problem with any type of body. One of my models was very skinny, but I saw her ate like no one else. A lot of people forget that at has hard as it is to lose weight it is also hard to gain weight for certain people. I don’t like when people say ‘I want to see a real women on your website‘. I am a real woman! I hear that a lot, “eat a burger, eat that!” I like to make sure I have a variety of girls from skinny, short, petite to tall. It is important not to put a title on women.
F&B Inc: Do you think those things can change?
Coco Rocha: I think so. we talk about it so much now. One day there will be an agency where everyone is one. It’s an easy thing to discuss!
F&B Inc: Canadian fashion industry?
Coco Rocha: When I think about Canadian designers, its tough because some of them want to stay in Canada but often they have to go off to Europe or America to keep improving. I hope in the future more talent can stay here. For some reasons people have to go and make a career [outside Canada] and then return to be successful here. You don’t see a girl from day 1 stay in Canada and everyone be pleased for her. We still have work to do in Canada!
F&B Inc: Whats your advice for girls who want to succeed in the fashion industry?
Coco Rocha: Figure out your message and stick to your guns but also be different! Think about something new and exciting. Don’t do what everyone else is doing! Keep it interesting, thats what keeps peole coming back for more.