Having been offered her share of licensing deals over the years, Coco Rocha has her own collection at last.
Through a joint venture with the Los Angeles-based Paragon Project, she and her artist husband James Conran will debut Co + Co by Coco Rocha contemporary sportswear via her Web site and retailers. In a phone interview, Rocha said, “I have always been interested in having my own clothing collection. It’s always been in my mind to do it. But sometimes models are not taken seriously in this field. We’re to pose in the clothing but we don’t necessarily have our own point of view. But Paragon knew from conversations on day one that I was going to be very hands-on. They like that, rather than someone who comes in and only says, ‘Yes, no and maybe.'”
After first meeting with Paragon Project executives a year ago, Rocha made it clear that she would be highly involved with developing the styles, as well as the brand ambassador. Her attention to movement and fit was best exemplified by “The Study of Pose,” a book that featured the model in 1,000 unique poses, each shot from 100 angles by photographer Steven Sebring. That experience gave her another shot of confidence to pursue an apparel collection.
A former contributor to PC Magazine and a social media presence for “a good nine years,” Rocha is redesigning her Web site and amping up its lifestyle component in advance of Co + Co’s online launch. An assortment of Web series will be in the mix, as well as posts about the merging of fashion and technology, travel and motherhood. After her daughter Ioni was born eight months ago, Rocha returned to modeling within a few months and continues to do so. “Of course, when you have a baby you get really nervous about how you will be able to work and be a great mom. But it’s been really awesome actually,” Rocha said.
Aiming to appeal to working women, many of whom comprise her 1.2 million Twitter followers, Rocha said affordability was key when pricing her 60-piece collection from $80 to $300. Making the point that being on social media was a bit of a taboo early on in her career, Rocha said she first played around on Myspace, was quick to take to Facebook when that first came around in 2004 and started blogging primarily for family and friends.
After noticing strangers were commenting on her posts, she said, “At that time, I was probably talking about my trip to Australia, who I met, what I was watching on TV. It was nothing. But I thought,’How interesting that I can promote myself.’ This was at a time when models really didn’t have an opportunity to promote themselves. I decided then that it was important that Coco the model had to be a brand and also business. So we have always focused on social media, and it will also be that way for Co + Co.”
Intrigued by 3-D printing, the Canadian-born model said she hopes to use that for her own collection and other digitally advanced elements of design, since how “man meets machine” is an area of particular interest. She is also aware that that concept is right in line with The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibition, “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” In September, Rocha closed the Zac Zac Posen runway show by wearing a dress illuminated with hundreds of LED lights that was executed with the help of Girls Who Code. Rocha is a fan of that Google-backed initiative, which encourages girls and women to pursue coding. “There are so many things in technology that can improve fashion,” she said.
As for the challenge of working with her husband, Rocha said, “Weirdly enough, we don’t fight about work. You might not believe me, but we don’t. If we fight, it’s about who didn’t clean what…I love working with James because he will always tell me exactly what he thinks — [even if] maybe at the time I won’t. If someone is always telling me, ‘Yes, that’s great’ and James turns to me and says, ‘I don’t think that’s a great idea,’ then I know it’s important to pay attention to what he’s saying.”