I think you can be very strong and still be very feminine at the same time. That’s why I always have shoes that you can walk in; I couldn’t have it any other way. I don’t tell fairy tales. I tell real stories, for real women.
How do you go about designing a collection?
Each collection comes from a different place, although there is always one common thread: something personal to me. It could be a moment in time, a place or an artist. Then it is a question of how I can interpret that into a fabrication and a silhouette. Also, every collection ends up being a reaction to the previous collection. I never throw everything out with the bath water once a season is over.
Did you always want to be a fashion designer?
No. But it always felt like it would be the most natural thing for me to do. Clothes and the process of making clothes are the ways that I can articulate my thoughts and emotions. I love the power of dress and helping people express how they feel. Then there is also the fact I was brought up in a family of fashion creatives.
How much does your background influence your work?
I was born in Ireland and love being Irish. I’m very proud of where I come from. I had a wonderful upbringing and a mixed background as I am also half-Chinese. My dad, John Rocha, is from Hong Kong and an amazing designer himself. I worked in his studio in Dublin from 13 to 18, before I moved to London. My mother is my business partner today. I have really learned so much from working with my family and have so much respect for them and everything they’ve done.
It’s not hard being the designer daughter of a designer?
Without being my father’s daughter, I wouldn’t be the designer I am today. I feel his influences in textiles. I feel his influences in femininity. And I feel his influences in the sense that he was always really striving for beauty and for beautiful handwork. I learned to crochet in his studio as a teenager and now we have a whole department dedicated to it here, so it’s impossible not to feel influenced by him. Then again, quite often we can get into a conversation where he will go, “Well, Simone, I wouldn’t do it like that.” And I’m like, “Well, that’s O.K., Dad.”
Do you want to stay an independent family-run brand? Rumor has it big conglomerates have their eyes on you.
At this moment in time the business is exactly where I want to be. That is a real luxury, knowing I can do things at the pace that’s right for me and what works…