Rochambeau

Rochambeau

Joshua Cooper and Laurence Chandler Rochambeau

In 2016, Rochambeau was nominated at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and won the International Woolmark Prize USA Final. Was 2016 the best year of your career, so far
2016 has been a blur. Rochambeau is going into its fifth year but our efforts are over a decade. The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and the Woolmark Prize are accolades for that time spent. For our city. 2017 feels like its going to be pretty special too.
The other great thing that happened this past year was to connect with the other creative talents involved in these contests. That’s definitely something we were looking forward to.
We recently talked to Adam Selman, another 2016 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist. He told us about how he fearlessly asked Anna Wintour if she dated Bob Marley (read the interview in the new Dull n°6, available at select stores and online). Do you also have a funny story to share with us?
LC - Well, let me tell you about how Diane von Fürstenberg shopped two Rochambeau hoodies. She came by our studio, and she was like a princess—I think she actually is a princess! [Born Diane Simone Michelle Halfin, the fashion designer and CFDA chairwoman became Her Serene Highness Diane, princess of Fürstenberg following her wedding with Prince Egon von Fürstenberg in 1969. She lost the title when they divorced, in 1972].
She pulled up in a 1970s green Bentley, stepped out in a crazy outfit. Joshua and I were nervous. Instead of going up in the studio, she sees the garden in the back and tells us “Walk with me.” So we executed ourselves, walked through the garden with her and listened to her. As soon as she got in the studio, she responded to our fleece hoodies. At this point, we thought that she just stopped by to see what we have. A couple days later, we get a call saying “We’d like to get this for Diane immediately.”
She’s so cool! She visited our studio the day we created the concept for our Fall 2017 collection and left such good energy. We were on fire after she left.
Were you familiar with your peers also running for the International Woolmark Prize?
We were! I knew of the Cottweiler guys [Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty, winners of the 2016-17 International Woolmark Prize in the Menswear category] because they did some dope shows. We’ve got to look in and see more of the other brands involved, they’re all super talented.
To share this stage with such great international designers was very exciting, and the panel of judges was insane! Imran Amed from The Business of Fashion, Rami Atallah from SSENSE, Jefferson Hack from Dazed, Michèle Lamy, Shayne Oliver of Hood By Air, Stefano Tonchi from W Magazine… they are the leaders of fashion.
[Rochambeau]
Last summer at the International Woolmark Prize USA Regional Final, you presented to the jury a New York, post-9/11-inspired collection. How did you turn these painful memories into inspiration?
Beauty can come from tragedy, chaos and destruction. Some of the world’s greatest creative moments and art have been spawned from terrible times. This being an international prize, it was our way to make a statement on our City and its resilience.

We felt the responsibility to tell a New York story. The city is so unique, thanks to its energy. There’s no place in the world that I visited where you can have an idea and make it a reality. That’s what we want to represent, and I’m glad that we took advantage of the opportunity to do so.
How did you guys meet and what sparked the idea of creating Rochambeau?
Joshua and I met 10 years ago. We were just getting in high school. There wasn’t social media back then, so we were forced to talk to each other. We clicked and had a ton of ideas, from t-shirts to a magazine.
Our fashion venture started by printing t-shirts. It was a way to tell your friends’ story, like “this is our crew”. A way to brand and identify ourselves. The crew thing was our first instinct. We had simple, cool ideas. By doing that, you start to build a bigger network. Next thing you know, your friends are photographers, models, stylists and it keeps growing.
5 years ago, we looked at the menswear market in New York and thought we should do something. Business-wise, we didn’t really have a plan, and had no partners. It was just about doing things. It started as a t-shirt, then we made a hoodie, we spent years kicking around and developing the resources before we formally decided to launch a label.
Fast forward to 2017, we’re making full collections and doing runway shows.
What’s your take on social media now and the impact it has on the fashion industry, and more generally on people’s lives?
I find it very interesting! The idea of connecting with people goes definitely beyond sending them a Direct message. The only real way you’re going to make something happen is to, at least, get on the phone, but also meet people face to face.
For us, growing up without social media, it used to be so important to find out the cool stuff. It had to come from a friend’s older brother, somebody had to show you something. It took work. In a lot of ways, even when Joshua and I are designing now, there’s the idea of informing someone of something cool through the label.
We want people to look into Rochambeau and find the backstory, that it’s real. It’s a crowded and very corporate marketplace. But there’s realness in our story.
Do you feel stronger being a duet?
We do! Joshua and I are like brothers, we face the bad and enjoy the good together. We also motivate each other to succeed.
What are you working on now that will see the light of day in 2017?
We’re working on making America Great Again, so look out for us!
On a more serious note, we’re showing the Rochambeau Fall-Winter 2017-18 collection on February 1st in New York, during Men’s Fashion Week. We’re excited to have worked with a lot of colors. On the men’s market, you can visit stores where every item is black. Even being from New York, I wear black most of the time.
Color is a design detail. We realized that sometimes, it’s not about making the craziest pieces, but about making something people want to wear and making something that’s not necessarily on the market.
Also, we worked with The Woolmark Company partners on the development of the collection, and with several artists on a few custom, paint-dripping pieces. But everything is wearable, there’s nothing to crazy. The colors and the fabrics make the difference.
We can’t wait to show the collection to the world. Wish us luck, Dull!

By Iggy NKo

Photos: Joshua Cooper and Laurence Chandler at the International Woolmark Prize USA Final, courtesy of BFA. Rochambeau Spring-Summer 2017 at NYFW: Men’s, courtesy of Jackie Lee and Julien Tell.

Rochambeau

Joshua Cooper and Laurence Chandler Rochambeau

In 2016, Rochambeau was nominated at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and won the International Woolmark Prize USA Final. Was 2016 the best year of your career, so far
2016 has been a blur. Rochambeau is going into its fifth year but our efforts are over a decade. The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and the Woolmark Prize are accolades for that time spent. For our city. 2017 feels like its going to be pretty special too.
The other great thing that happened this past year was to connect with the other creative talents involved in these contests. That’s definitely something we were looking forward to.
We recently talked to Adam Selman, another 2016 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist. He told us about how he fearlessly asked Anna Wintour if she dated Bob Marley (read the interview in the new Dull n°6, available at select stores and online). Do you also have a funny story to share with us?
LC - Well, let me tell you about how Diane von Fürstenberg shopped two Rochambeau hoodies. She came by our studio, and she was like a princess—I think she actually is a princess! [Born Diane Simone Michelle Halfin, the fashion designer and CFDA chairwoman became Her Serene Highness Diane, princess of Fürstenberg following her wedding with Prince Egon von Fürstenberg in 1969. She lost the title when they divorced, in 1972].
She pulled up in a 1970s green Bentley, stepped out in a crazy outfit. Joshua and I were nervous. Instead of going up in the studio, she sees the garden in the back and tells us “Walk with me.” So we executed ourselves, walked through the garden with her and listened to her. As soon as she got in the studio, she responded to our fleece hoodies. At this point, we thought that she just stopped by to see what we have. A couple days later, we get a call saying “We’d like to get this for Diane immediately.”
She’s so cool! She visited our studio the day we created the concept for our Fall 2017 collection and left such good energy. We were on fire after she left.
Were you familiar with your peers also running for the International Woolmark Prize?
We were! I knew of the Cottweiler guys [Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty, winners of the 2016-17 International Woolmark Prize in the Menswear category] because they did some dope shows. We’ve got to look in and see more of the other brands involved, they’re all super talented.
To share this stage with such great international designers was very exciting, and the panel of judges was insane! Imran Amed from The Business of Fashion, Rami Atallah from SSENSE, Jefferson Hack from Dazed, Michèle Lamy, Shayne Oliver of Hood By Air, Stefano Tonchi from W Magazine… they are the leaders of fashion.
[Rochambeau]
Last summer at the International Woolmark Prize USA Regional Final, you presented to the jury a New York, post-9/11-inspired collection. How did you turn these painful memories into inspiration?
Beauty can come from tragedy, chaos and destruction. Some of the world’s greatest creative moments and art have been spawned from terrible times. This being an international prize, it was our way to make a statement on our City and its resilience.

We felt the responsibility to tell a New York story. The city is so unique, thanks to its energy. There’s no place in the world that I visited where you can have an idea and make it a reality. That’s what we want to represent, and I’m glad that we took advantage of the opportunity to do so.
How did you guys meet and what sparked the idea of creating Rochambeau?
Joshua and I met 10 years ago. We were just getting in high school. There wasn’t social media back then, so we were forced to talk to each other. We clicked and had a ton of ideas, from t-shirts to a magazine.
Our fashion venture started by printing t-shirts. It was a way to tell your friends’ story, like “this is our crew”. A way to brand and identify ourselves. The crew thing was our first instinct. We had simple, cool ideas. By doing that, you start to build a bigger network. Next thing you know, your friends are photographers, models, stylists and it keeps growing.
5 years ago, we looked at the menswear market in New York and thought we should do something. Business-wise, we didn’t really have a plan, and had no partners. It was just about doing things. It started as a t-shirt, then we made a hoodie, we spent years kicking around and developing the resources before we formally decided to launch a label.
Fast forward to 2017, we’re making full collections and doing runway shows.
What’s your take on social media now and the impact it has on the fashion industry, and more generally on people’s lives?
I find it very interesting! The idea of connecting with people goes definitely beyond sending them a Direct message. The only real way you’re going to make something happen is to, at least, get on the phone, but also meet people face to face.
For us, growing up without social media, it used to be so important to find out the cool stuff. It had to come from a friend’s older brother, somebody had to show you something. It took work. In a lot of ways, even when Joshua and I are designing now, there’s the idea of informing someone of something cool through the label.
We want people to look into Rochambeau and find the backstory, that it’s real. It’s a crowded and very corporate marketplace. But there’s realness in our story.
Do you feel stronger being a duet?
We do! Joshua and I are like brothers, we face the bad and enjoy the good together. We also motivate each other to succeed.
What are you working on now that will see the light of day in 2017?
We’re working on making America Great Again, so look out for us!
On a more serious note, we’re showing the Rochambeau Fall-Winter 2017-18 collection on February 1st in New York, during Men’s Fashion Week. We’re excited to have worked with a lot of colors. On the men’s market, you can visit stores where every item is black. Even being from New York, I wear black most of the time.
Color is a design detail. We realized that sometimes, it’s not about making the craziest pieces, but about making something people want to wear and making something that’s not necessarily on the market.
Also, we worked with The Woolmark Company partners on the development of the collection, and with several artists on a few custom, paint-dripping pieces. But everything is wearable, there’s nothing to crazy. The colors and the fabrics make the difference.
We can’t wait to show the collection to the world. Wish us luck, Dull!

By Iggy NKo

Photos: Joshua Cooper and Laurence Chandler at the International Woolmark Prize USA Final, courtesy of BFA. Rochambeau Spring-Summer 2017 at NYFW: Men’s, courtesy of Jackie Lee and Julien Tell.