Fashion designer John Rocha on style secrets | Style | Life & Style

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The fashion designer keeps it simple with basic black and his trusty Birkenstocks

John’s style is all about simplicity. Here he wears a jacket and shirt he designed himself with trousers by Yohji Yamamoto and his favourite Birkenstock sandals 

John wears a coat by Sofie D’Hoore with a vintage scarf from India, Yohji Yamamoto trousers and Prada brogues

This is John’s outfit for his favourite hobby, fishing. He wears a khaki jacket, jumper and scarf, all by RJR John Rocha

John, 63, moved to London from Hong Kong to study fashion in the 70s, then made his home in Ireland after falling in love with the people, music and culture. In 1993, he won Designer of the Year and was awarded a CBE in 2002. John and his wife Odette live in Dublin. They have two children, Simone and Max.

What inspired your love of fashion? I was fascinated by my grandmother’s work as a dressmaker but the revelation for me was seeing The Beatles when they came to Hong Kong in 1964. They looked so different in their collarless jackets and suddenly I understood how exciting fashion could be. From that moment, I wanted to go to England.

What are your key career highlights? When I launched my first London collection in 1985 – I still remember every outfit – being named British Designer of the Year in 1993 and being honoured by the Queen with a CBE in 2002.

What is your design mission for Debenhams? 

I come from a humble background and believe that everyone deserves beautiful design, so it’s wonderful that my collections for Debenhams – womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, accessories and homewear – are more accessible. 

What kind of woman is your Debenhams customer? She is every age – I’ve dressed my dear wife for over 30 years and my designs can be worn by all women because they flow into each other from season to season so they are always connected to the past, the present and the future.

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‘My style has to be simple, relaxed and comfortable’

John wears all black when working but will add a white shirt for meetings. His shirts are always his own design

John loves wearing trainers, here are his Y-3 by Yohji Yamamoto for Adidas, plus a Nike pair and his Prada brogues

A few of John’s favourite things – his Etro sunglasses; tortoiseshell reading glasses, which are handmade in France by Les Lunettes d’Also; and the silver heart-shaped keyring John designed based on the Irish Claddagh ring

The designer’s most precious possession, a leather rucksack by Yohji Yamamoto that is more than 20 years old, with two baker boy-style hats he designed

John’s rings are his “security blanket” – he always wears them. He designed the silver ring, while the others were bought in China  

 

Describe your own style… I’m travelling all the time, so it has to be simple, relaxed and comfortable. Most of the time I wear all black, but I’ll change into a white shirt for meetings or evening appointments when I’m making an effort. 

Who…

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